What is a shrill carder bee?
This fuzzy black, yellow and orange bumblebee gets its name because of the particularly high-pitched buzz it makes during flight. This bee was once widespread across southern England with scattered records as far north as Northumberland, but it has declined dramatically over the last century and is now one of our rarest bumblebees.
Today the shrill carder bee is only found in areas of southern Wales, Somerset, Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, and the Thames Gateway in north Kent/south Essex and is the focus of a Back from the Brink project to ensure that we don’t lose it from the UK entirely.
This project, led by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and Buglife, and supported by the RSPB, is focusing on the shrill carder bee populations in Somerset and the Thames Gateway. These two areas are about as completely different from each other as can be, so it is a fascinating opportunity to find out what the bees’ essential needs are.