As we watch the horrors of climate change take hold across the globe its easy to become despondent, but just as you think its too late you're thrown a lifeline and for me its the large carder bumblebee Bombus muscorum.
This beautiful bumblebee is in crisis across Europe, not faring much better in the UK and has reached near threatened status here in Ireland. A few short years ago Ireland was considered its last stronghold but current indications are seeing serious declines across the country.
This bumblebee needs our help! We need to identify its locations across West Cork and create a map of its current distribution. This will inform decisions as to where bee corridors are best placed to help ensure its survival here.
Skerries in conjunction with Biodiversity Ireland have produced this informative booklet on how we can all help.
Here on the farm we are documenting its numbers, along with photos and videos to help with identification. If you don't know what you're looking at you can't protect it. The common carder bumblebee Bombus pascorum is similar and can be difficult to tell apart at first but with practice their individual characteristics become easier to identify.
The large carder has blonde hairs on its abdomen (the bottom section of its body) and a blond collar on its thorax ( the top section) where as the common carder had black hairs on its abdomen with a ginger tail and blackish grey on its thorax collar, the thorax is also a deeper ginger. To add to the confusion the common carder fades to grey as it gets older.
I've linked an Instagram live where we chatted about this bumblebee and what we can do to help.
We have an opportunity here in West Cork to help preserve and protect this bumblebee which will in turn help other species cope better. This will have indirect benefits for us all and create better resilience to the negative effects of climate change.
We will continue to update as we gather more information on its status in West Cork.