Screens & Feeders

Conservationists excited by new buzz in quarries

The UK-based Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BCT) has a memorandum of understanding with the Mineral Products Association (MPA) – the trade body for the UK’s aggregates, cement and concrete industries – to help conserve bees and help them thrive.

As part of the agreement, signed in November 2012, the MPA facilitated access to quarry sites so that BCT staff could monitor bumblebees and wildlife in general. The BCT staff also provided education and training to quarry staff on how they could recognise and survey their sites for bees, as well as how to create and restore flower-rich habitats for them.

According to the BCT, bumblebees numbers have fallen in the UK due to the widespread loss of wildflower grassland and changes in agricultural practice, with two species of bumblebee having become extinct within the last 60 years.

A release from the BCT stated that after visiting a number of quarries, the organisation found that they could be “surprisingly useful” places for wildlife.

“The [quarrying] process often allows wildflowers to thrive, and pollinating insects like bumblebees can be abundant. There are many different habitats on quarries too and each one can be managed sensitively for bees,” the release stated.

The BCT has developed a fact sheet that details how quarry sites can be managed to encourage the growth of declining bee populations. The organisation also hopes to enlist quarry workers to participate in a recording scheme that will help them monitor bumblebee populations and provide them with early warning of declines.

Source: Bumblebee Conservation Trust

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