A number of my friends keep bees and it is largely through them that I have become aware of the project to reintroduce the short-haired bumblebee to the UK. Once commonplace across the south of England, they first stopped nesting some 25 years ago as their natural wildflower and grassland habitat started to decline. They were officially declared extinct in Britain in the year 2000.
Exciting news then that queen bees brought from Sweden have successfully produced offspring at the RSPB nature reserve at Dungeness. It’s a great reward for the conservationists behind the project who have been working with Kentish farmers to establish flower-rich meadows that will give the bees a sustainable habitat in Dungeness and Romney Marsh.