Bee romance gets Dounreay workers buzzing

Bee romance gets Dounreay workers buzzing

DSRL environmental advisors have captured a rare sight on film.

They were able to film Great Yellow Bumblebees mating in the wild flower meadow on the site.

It may be the first time that such an event has been recorded on film in mainland Scotland.

Environmental officer Simon Cottam has been heavily involved with the meadow project since it began.

“I never expected the impact of the project to be so sudden, but our surveys of the meadow showed an almost instant usage by several species of bee, including our target species the Great Yellow Bumblebee,” he said.

“Knowing the bees are reproducing in the area really makes me feel that the project has been successful.”

Bob Dawson, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s conservation officer for Scotland, is excited by the discovery.

“Mating bumblebee of any kind are rarely seen, even more so when considering the Great Yellow Bumblebee, our rarest species,” he commented.

“This is the first time that coupled Great Yellow Bumblebees have been seen on the UK mainland for many, many years. It is a clear endorsement of the work that Dounreay has carried out in encouraging the wildflowers that these rare bumblebees need, with the benefits continuing to accrue as the ‘bee meadow’ continues its gradual restoration.”

Dounreay has published its biodiversity action plan for the next two years, to protect and encourage wildlife on the site as more of the site is cleaned up and demolished.

Actions include relocating rare plants to prevent them being damaged by construction work, and encouraging wild birds by providing them with suitable nesting surfaces in areas where they will not be disturbed by human activity.

In the plan, Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd’s managing director Simon Middlemas pledges to protect and promote biodiversity on the site.

To read the biodiversity action plan click here

To visit the Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s website, click here