Highlands & Islands

New effort in Caithness to save great yellow bumblebee

Mating great yellow bumblebees. Pic: DSRL
Image caption The great yellow is one of the UK's rarest bumblebees

A new campaign has been launched in Caithness to help one of the UK's rarest bumblebees.

The great yellow clings to survival on the far north coast, Orkney and the Western Isles.

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BCT) has opened a temporary shop in Thurso to promote efforts to save the bee.

BCT's Katy Malone said: "Bumblebees in general are brilliant creatures. People can really engage with them. They are like little fuzzy teddy bears."

Once widespread, numbers of great yellows declined in the face of intensive farming.

The far north Highlands are home to the last mainland population.

In 2010, plants favoured by the rare bumblebee were sown at 11 farms in Caithness in an effort to boost its numbers.

Money from Highland Council's Landfill Communities Fund was used to help set up the project.

Areas of land at the Dounreay nuclear power plant site in Caithness have also become a haven for the great yellow.

Ms Malone said bumblebees played a crucial role as pollinators.

She said: "In Scotland we have got really important soft fruit industries which rely on bumblebees for pollination.

"They are the most efficient pollinators and are incredibly important for economy and our crop security."

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