IUCN Bumblebee Specialist Group

The IUCN Bumblebee Specialist Group, chaired by Dr. Paul Williams of London’s Natural History Museum, was formed in December of 2010. The proposal to form this group was evaluated and improved by many of the scientists who attended a November, 2010 meeting to develop a Conservation Strategy for North American bumble bees.

At a time when the significance of pollinators has captured widespread public attention, the timely formation of this group brings this charismatic insect group into the mainstream of conservation efforts. A decline in bumble bee populations has been documented in Europe, North America, South America and Asia due to a variety of threats, ranging from habitat loss and degradation to introduced diseases and pesticide use, all of which require a better understanding if further declines are to be prevented.

There are approximately 250 species of bumble bees (Genus: Bombus) in the world. It is therefore possible and appropriate to address the conservation of the entire genus. Significant conservation attention has been given to bumble bees in the UK and North America, however there is now a need to address and coordinate bumble bee conservation on a global scale.

The priority of the new Bumblebee Specialist Group will be to implement a comprehensive and detailed assessment of the global status of bumble bees, including a major red listing effort for all species, as well as promoting their conservation.

Read the 2013 report on the activities of the Bumblebee Specialist Group.

Read the 2012 report on the activities of the Bumblebee Specialist Group.

Global Species List


CHAIR: Dr. Paul Williams, Natural History Museum, London
DEPUTY CHAIR: Sarina Jepsen, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, USA
PROGRAM OFFICER: Ed Spevak, Saint Louis Zoo, USA
SCIENTIFIC ADVISOR: Dr. Sydney Cameron, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA


East Asia East Asia – Dr. An Jiandong

East Russia East Russia – Dr. Alexandr Byvaltsev

Europe Europe – Dr. Pierre Rasmont and Stuart Roberts

Himalaya Himalaya – Dr. Malkiat Saini

Japan Japan – Dr. Koichi Goka

Mesoamerica Mesoamerica – Dr. Rémy Vandame

North America North America – Dr. Robbin Thorp and Sheila Colla

South America South America – Dr. Carolina Morales

West Asia West Asia – Dr. Ahmet Murat Aytekin

Focal Point for Wildlife Health: Dr. Mark Brown
Focal Point for Red List Authority: Sarina Jepsen
Focal Point for Trade: Ed Spevak

(Coming soon)

(Coming soon)


IUCN Red Listing Materials

The IUCN Red List provides consistent criteria to assess the status of all wildlife. The IUCN Bumblebee Specialist Group aims to complete a status assessment of all c. 250 species of bumble bees worldwide using the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria. With Regional Coordinators facilitating the data collection for each region, the Specialist Group will place each species of bumble bee into one of nine categories: Extinct, Extinct in the Wild, Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, Near Threatened, Least Concern, Data Deficient, or Not Evaluated.

Below are some IUCN publications to assist with this process.

Red List Categories and Criteria
Red List Categories and Criteria Summary
Red List Guidelines
Red List Standards and Consistency

IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria powerpoint
Overview of the IUCN Red List and Red List Unit

Red List Assessment Form