Bee hunters head out on safari in Buxton

Buxton’s first ever bumblebee safari event proved popular with those taking part – even though the elusive bilberry bumblee was nowhere to be seen.

Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 4:30 pm

Lead by Buxton amateur naturalist Steve Orridge and organised by local community group, the Friends of Buxton Station (FoBS), as part of their Great Buxton Bilberry bumblebee Hunt for the town’s Festival Fringe, eleven “bee-hunters” headed off to Lightwood to seek out the rare Bilberry bumblebee.

Friends Chairman, Dave Carlisle said: “The idea for a safari came about after FoBS worked with volunteers from The Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

"We devised a self-guided safari leaflet last summer and wanted to take it one step further this year, when covid-19 restrictions allowed.

Steve Orridge explains about Lightwood’s bumblebee habitat to Sue Mellor of FoBS and bee-hunter Janet.

"We were very lucky that Steve buzzed in to help - his knowledge and enthusiasm made it very enjoyable and educational!”

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And Steve Orridge added: “We had a lovely warm evening and lots of insects were ‘on the wing.’

"We were lucky to see so many different things, because the season has been very slow to get going. We saw a ‘hard to spot’ reptile and plenty of common bees, but sadly not our lovely Bilberry bumblebee - they are that rare!”

The Bilberry bumblebee is one of Britain’s rarest bumblebees, now only found in the Peak District and a few other mountainous areas. It plays a key role in supporting moorland plants – including by pollinating bilberries, a plant it has helped keep alive.

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust is a charity with serious concerns about the ‘plight of the bumblebee’. In the last 80 years, bumblebee populations have crashed, and three species have already become extinct in the UK.