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Great Yellow Week

7th August 2015

Photograph of Great Yellow Week


This August 21st is the start of Great Yellow Week in Caithness, a chance to search for one of Scotland's rarest bees and discover why bumblebees are so important. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust is hosting events at The Park Hotel, Thurso, where the charity is encouraging volunteers from the area to get involved and help spot this rare bumblebee.

The event will kick start on Friday 21st August with two bee identification training sessions run by Katy Malone (Conservation Officer Scotland) and Dr. Richard Comont (Data Monitoring Officer) before volunteers head out in small groups on the 22nd August to walk designated transects across the county. For anyone interested in finding out how to photograph bees, there will also be a photography talk and guided walk, led by local amateur photographer Gordon Mackie, starting at 10am on the Saturday, also at the Park Hotel. Anyone who is interested can come along to find out more at the Pop-Up Shop on Princes Street in Thurso from 12noon - 5pm on the Saturday, where volunteers will be bringing back their records and discussing their findings throughout the day.

The Great yellow is a distinctive bumblebee which can be identified by its bright yellow colouring, and black band of hair between the wings. It has declined dramatically in the last century, making it one of the UK's rarest bumblebees. Now only found in a handful of sites in the far north of Scotland and the islands, it is a priority species for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust to monitor. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust desperately needs volunteers in the Caithness area to get involved. Bumblebees are an essential part of the countryside, responsible as they are for pollinating our crops and wildflowers and ensuring the food we need, can grow and be harvested. It is a little known fact that without bumblebees, fruits such as tomatoes, apples and strawberries would simply cease to exist. To get involved in any of these events, please contact Katy Malone at katy.malone[AT], or call 07554414052.

If you are unable to attend any of these events and live in Caithness or along the north coast, why not take a walk and see if you can spot and photograph a Great yellow? If you would like more information on this rare bee visit the Bumblebee Conservation Trust website. You can also upload your pictures to our BeeWatch site. To join the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and support this vital cause, please visit If you would like to see how bee-friendly your garden is, visit This website will give your garden a bee-friendliness score on the flowers that you already have and provide top tips to make your garden even better for bumblebees.

About Bumblebee Conservation Trust
The Bumblebee Conservation Trust is a UK based charity that was established because of serious concerns about the ‘plight of the bumblebee'. In the last 80 years the bumblebee populations have crashed. And two species have become extinct in the UK. Bumblebees are familiar and much-loved insects that pollinate our crops and wildflowers. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust is driving awareness to ensure our communities and countryside are rich in bumblebees and colourful flowers, supporting a diversity of wildlife and habitats for everyone to enjoy. The common bumblebee species contribute significantly to our economy through the ecosystem service that their pollination of crops provides. Pollination is vital for many of the nation’s wild plants and it helps to maintain affordable five-a-day fruit and vegetables.

Male Great Yellow Bumblebee on clover
Photographer - Gordon Mackie

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