Bumblebees and Other Wild Pollinators: How We Can Help


It was Charles Darwin who proved the importance of bumblebees as pollinators for the yield of clover. Later it was discovered that the role of these beneficial insects is even more vital, because they maintain the productivity of the whole terrestrial ecosystem. Farmers pay serious attention to pollination, but usually focus on honeybees. However, bumblebees can be a free resource for farmers: the ecosystem will do the job itself.

Bumblebee-keeping for pollination in greenhouses is multi-million business in the Netherlands, Belgium, Israel, Japan, etc. The colonies of these pollinators are reared in captivity and sold worldwide. But what about bumblebees who live in the wild? It appears that most of the wild populations suffer from various human activities – use of pesticides in agriculture, motorway traffic and destruction of natural habitats. Is it possible to protect and support wild bumblebees? If so how can it be done most efficiently?

Green initiatives often conflict with aesthetic requirements (trimmed lawns and neat hedges look much nicer than a wild landscape) and existing infrastructure (roads are narrow, limited space for meadows, etc). This is an inventive challenge where win-win solution is required.

We will explain the simple measures, which would be easy to implement in our parks, gardens, orchards and any other green zones. Some of the measures could require minimum skills, and others are based on not doing, rather than doing something. We will demonstrate how to make basic bumblebees nest-boxes, which was developed as the result of our 20-years’ experience in rearing these insects.

We will show how to increase the attractiveness of this nest box for bees, how to choose the correct and quality nest-boxes and other artificial domiciles for wild pollinators, which are available in our garden-centres and shops.

We will also offer some tips how to:

  • control mold and parasites in the nest boxes,
  • how to avoid competition between queens,
  • how to prevent competition between bumblebees and wasps for nest-boxes,
  • how to transfer and re-locate colonies (in case they established their nest in a place where they interfere with humans),
  • how to catch a singular bumblebee (on a flower or in a room) without damaging it and avoiding stinging,
  • how to safely keep a colony at home in an observation hive,
  • and many other practical and useful pieces of advice.

The workshop contains practical exercise, demonstration of equipment for working with bumblebees outdoors and in captivity, educational videos and Q&A.

Programme details


Bumblebees: habits and habitats
Dr Nikolay Bogatyrev


How to make an ideal hive to attract bumblebees
Dr Nikolay Bogatyrev

Lunch break

How to handle bumblebees and never get stung
Dr Nikolay Bogatyrev

Merging interests of humans and wild pollinators
Dr Olga Bogatyreva


Practical classes: accommodate bumblebees in your garden
Dr Nikolay Bogatyrev and Dr Olga Bogatyreva

Course disperses


Description Costs
Tuition fee (includes tea/coffee) £85.00
Baguette £6.10
Hot lunch (three courses) £16.50


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit or are a full-time student in the UK you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

Concessionary fees for short courses


Dr Nikolay Bogatyrev


Dr Bogatyrev has a PhD in Biology, but is mostly interested in an engineering approach and ecologically sound architecture and design. He has more than 80 publications ranging from popular science papers to research articles and books. He is a founding consultant of the firm BioTRIZ Ltd. Applying a TRIZ approach to ecology and agriculture, Nikolay developed a set of rules for eco-engineering and published them in a book “Ecological Engineering of Survival”. Since 2002 Nikolay has worked at the University of Bath (Mechanical Engineering Department).

Dr Olga Bogatyreva


Olga Bogatyreva is a TRIZ consultant and coacher with a DSc in Complexity Theory and PhD in Biology. Her main field is organisational behaviour and group decision-making in which she has more than 60 publications. Olga teaches TRIZ at the University of Bath for undergraduate and postgraduate students and runs courses for Continuing Professional Development.


Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please contact us to obtain an application form.


Accommodation is not included in the price, but if you wish to stay with us the night before the course, then please contact our Residential Centre.

Accommodation in Rewley House - all bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, and Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms.  Please contact our Residential Centre on +44 (0) 1865 270362 or email res-ctr@conted.ox.ac.uk for details of availability and discounted prices.