News

 Call for Research or Travel applications.      The Trustees meet twice a year and next meeting  at which new applications will be considered is in the spring 2019.  If you have a research or travel proposal you wish to be considered for funding, please complete an application and email it to the Trust Secretary by 1st March 2019.  Application forms and details of the application process can be found under: How to apply for funding . 

Making bee science available to a wider audience.    Trustees have recently offered to sponsor a lecture at both the National Honey show and the BBKA Spring Convention.  The aim is to enable a scientist to be invited to pass on their knowledge and research findings to a wider, non-scientific, audience.   

Fascinating student project on Irish bumble bees.  As part of their drive to help support younger bee researchers, the trustees awarded a small grant to allow Maeve McCann to carry out a 3 month research project.  The Project was additional to her normal undergraduate studies at Trinity College Dublin.  A brief summary of the project and the key results provided by Maeve follow:

'The humble bumble bee comes in the form of 21 different species in Ireland. Individual species prefer different habitats, flowers, altitudes and vary in their abundance. All bumble bees in Ireland, rare, threatened or common, are in decline. This worrying trend is a result of a combination factors, what is mainly due to habitat loss, principally as a result of intensified farming practices, and also climate change. To further understand the abundance of some the most common bumble bees in Ireland this study looked at the ‘Bombus lucorum cryptic complex’ in urban sites in Dublin and rural ones in Fermanagh. The Bombus lucorum cryptic complex is a group of white tailed bumble bee species which cannot be distinguished from each other simply by visual inspection. The cryptic complex contains 4 species; Bombus terrestris, Bombus lucorum, Bombus cryptarum and Bombus magnus. Established techniques involving unique genetic markers were used to identify the species that were found at different sites. The results showed a marked difference in species composition in Dublin (urban) and Fermanagh (rural), a difference that would not have been possible to tell through visual identification. Dublin comprised Bombus cryptarum 4.2% Bombus lucorum 8.3% and Bombus terrestris 87.5%; and Fermanagh comprised Bombus cryptarum 46%, Bombus lucorum 20% and Bombus terrestris 34%. This difference in species composition could indicate that these species are variable with regard to their preference for a rural or urban environment.  Bombus terrestris appears most suited to an urban environment whereas Bombus cryptarum is most prevalent in rural areas. However, the study would need to be repeated at different times of the year, in different years and in a range of sites to confirm this finding. The driving factors causing differences in relative abundance are not clear, but this result suggests there is much to be revealed about these bumble bee species hidden in plain sight.'

If you would like to help us fund further exciting research to benefit bees and beekeeping this is now easily done online, just click on the following link:  Support Us .