Tree Bumblebee

OPAL data tracks spread of Tree Bumblebee

Tree bumblebee nectaring on marjoram

OPAL Species Quest survey data has provided an invaluable insight into the spread of the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum), writes community scientist Annie Robinson.

The data has recently been utilised in a publication by OPAL scientists at the University of Aberdeen, comparing how citizen science recording schemes can map distribution of species compared to more traditional recording schemes.  


Tree Bumblebees in the UK – what have your Species Quest observations shown?


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Have we found the answer to a Species Quest question?

Yes! Lots of you took part in the Species Quest, sending us photographs of six species over the web and via your smartphones. We received more than 800 photographs from across the country in the first year of the survey.

Bugs in urban vs rural areas – the results


How many bugs were counted in urban areas?

We invited you to go on a Species Quest and keep your eyes peeled for six key invertebrates. You spotted nearly 9,000 of them while doing your Bugs Count surveys.

One of the things we wanted to find out was how many species were found in very densely populated places such as cities and towns compared to less populated areas such as villages and hamlets. Can you notice any differences?

Tree Bumblebees in Scotland

The Bugs Count is throwing up some interesting results already!  There are three records of Tree Bumblebees in Scotland - potentially very exciting.  Anyone else seen them up there?  If you do see one, please send in a photo if you can, and ideally register on the OPAL site before you submit a record, so that we can trace it back to you and get in touch if we need to.  Tree Bumblebees haven't been found that far north before so if we can confirm these sightings with photos then we have a brilliant new discovery on our hands!


How to identify: the Tree Bumblebee


Scientific name: Bombus hypnorum

Why are we looking for it?

It’s been a decade since the Tree Bumblebee arrived in the UK under its own steam, and in that time it has spread rapidly. Help us to map how far north and west it has spread and where it is now found.

It doesn’t appear to be damaging any of our native bee populations and is a very effective pollinator, so it’s a welcome new arrival.

Tree Bumblebee

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