I thought I had seen more bumble bees this year and I deduced that it was because they can fly at lower temperatures – more like 7 degrees whereas honeybees need about 12 degrees. I thought we’d had more colder weather and therefore the bumble bees could get out whereas the honeybees stayed huddled. It was a great relief as the ground works we had last year had disturbed at least one honey bee nest and I was feeling guilty that I had sealed their fate. The pollinating bee log had to be moved but had survived the upheaval and we do have quite a few nooks and crannies and piles of stones etc.
At the Naphill fete yesterday, a local gardener was bemoaning the fact his beans had not been pollinated this year
Earlier this year I had noticed several bumbling around near ground level presumably looking for a nest site. For several weeks I spotted what I believe to be a tree bumble bee down by my hives – I could almost set my clock by her but every time I went back to collect my camera she had dashed off, camera shy I assume. The movement of this comparative new comer to the UK, Bombus hypnorum, is being tracked by the Bumble Bee Conservation Trust
Making a pollinating bee log is as easy as collecting and binding together some pieces of bamboo or drilling wide holes along a log. The artistic make it into something even more splendid.
When tending the garden today I saw lots more bumble bees and no honey bees at all except in the apiary. There was a brave bumble bee tackling the tumbling, sodden red roses by the back door. The buzz of a bumble bee is deeper than the buzz from a honeybee but as it investigated inside the roses its buzz became higher pitched and almost anxious – I couldn’t decide whether it was the water in the blooms or the fact it had spotted I was dead heading them.
I went to one of the foxgloves, admiring the range of colours and the fact they spring up so easily. I am not sure why they are not called poor man’s orchid or something because each flower has such intriguing marking.
I was musing that a flower could hide an entire bumble bee, even a large one and that each flower spike gives a succession of forage when out popped a very large bee – surprising me so much I failed to take its picture even though that was why I was looking at foxgloves in the first place.
My next chosen habitat was close to a wildish rose at the back of the garage – 2 bumble bees of different types spotted here. I saw the pollen baskets of one filled with yellow pollen and wondered whether the other could be a fly masquerading as a bumble bee – its wings made that triangular shape when open that is more typical of flies.
Either I am mistaken in my idea that there are more bumble bees or they have all decided to move to my garden for some reason.