WKPS arranged a visit to the RSPB Reserve at Dungeness on a truly glorious afternoon on 15 July 2014 to learn about the ecology of bees and their vital importance to us. We also looked specifically at the re-introduction of the short-haired bumble bee, from southern Sweden, an indicator species which had become extinct in the UK in 2000. RSPB Dungeness was selected
as the site for the re-introduction as its ecology is peculiarly well suited, as well as being sufficiently removed from day to day human activity to give the bees the best chance of re-establishing themselves. The project, which has enjoyed much success, has now broadened out to include farmers in Romney Marsh and the eastern regions of the High Weald. There are plans to extend it further, into Sussex, and so give the bee population as a whole sufficient size and variety of location to be able to survive and withstand future adverse weather and localised events.
The director of the project, Dr Nicci Gammans, gave us an introductory talk at the RSPB Dungeness Reserve Visitor Centre, which was followed by a guided walk around the Reserve to look at habitats and to examine the various species of bee to be found there.