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North Coast Bumblebees - In Person Talk

6th February 2024

Photograph of North Coast Bumblebees - In Person Talk

Paul Castle is the dedicated Countryside Ranger for North Sutherland and North Caithness with High Life Highland and is giving talks about bumblebees in Thurso and Bettyhill.

For me, the buzzing of a bumblebee is the quintessential ‘Sound of Summer'. Did you know, contrary to popular belief, it isn't actually the wings making that familiar buzzing noise? People in general have little understanding of bumblebees or other pollinators. How did carder bees get their name? What is a cuckoo bumblebee? How long do bumblebees live for?

If you want to discover the answers to these questions and learn many other interesting facts about our ‘little hairy' friends, then join me at the North Coast Visitor Centre in Thurso. Come along and enjoy a digital presentation all about our local bumblebees on Tuesday 14th February, 11am - 12.30pm.

If you are unable to make the date, this presentation will be repeated at Bettyhill Library on Thursday 11th April at 7.30pm.

Bumblebees are one of the most important pollinators of food plants and wild plants throughout the world. Their contribution to human food production is immense. It is often said that; one out of every three mouthfuls of food we eat, have been pollinated by bumblebees. Imagine no more raspberries, strawberries, sunflower oil, carrots, cauliflower, tomatoes or even chocolate. Despite their importance to us, bumblebee numbers continue to decline.

For example, the far north coast of Scotland is now the last remaining area of the UK mainland to hold breeding populations of the great yellow bumblebee. This once UK-wide species has suffered a huge decline since the end of the second world war. That fact along makes this area incredibly important for their long-term survival.

As High Life Highland's countryside ranger in the far north, I have been involved with bumblebee conservation projects for many years, often focussing on the great yellow bumblebee. I do not consider myself an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I do have a wealth of experience and the kind help of many real experts.

During this presentation, I shall introduce you to bumblebees in general and also some of the projects I have been involved with. I will also explain some simple things you can do to help the plight of the bumblebee. You will also learn how to begin identifying the species we see here, and discover more about their fascinating lifecycle. Hopefully you may become as transfixed as I by the humble-bumble.

Why do bumblebees have smelly feet? Can they only sting once? How are they different to honeybees? Come along on February 14th and you'll discover the answers. Afterwards why not take home some bumblebee friendly wildflower seeds to plant. To help you with your bumblebee identification take an identification sheet home to help you learn. You too can discover the wonders of the bumblebee world.

All children must be accompanied by a responsible adult. There is no need to book a place as this is a FREE drop-in event. We make no charge, but a kind donation will help ensure we can continue to provide events such as these.

If you wish to reserve a space on Eventbrite you will get an email with details of venue and time.


Paul Castle is the dedicated Countryside Ranger for North Sutherland and North Caithness with High Life Highland. Paul has devoted over two decades, to the ranger service of this area. His commitment reflects his love for the area, marked by its breathtaking landscapes, diverse wildlife, friendly communities and rich natural heritage. Paul's work plays a pivotal role in promoting and protecting the wildlife, flora, and fauna that make this part of Scotland so extraordinary.