23rd February 2019

In this unseasonably warm and still February spell, with male Great Spotted Woodpeckers hammering, Nuthatch calling and birds beginning to sing, I watched several Queen bumblebees feeding from our Snowdrops, Crocuses and Winter Aconite this morning. This is not surprising as the Queens, the only Bumblebees to overwinter, emerge at temperatures over 10C to feed up on nectar and pollen. Here is one that is easy to identify- the Tree Bumblebee which is already widespread, even in Scotland, having first arrived in the UK from Europe only in 2001. As well as feeding-up, the Queens will be searching for nest sites– for the Tree Bumblebee this can ┬ábe nest-

Tree Bumblebee

Tree Bumblebee

Tree Bumblebee

Tree Bumblebee

boxes as well as holes in trees. With its ginger thorax, black abdomen and white tail it is a good one to learn as the large Queens appear early. Conditions: Mist burning off to warm sun. Temperature: Max 14 Min 6 C

14th September 2017

Sedums of many sorts, so brilliant for feeding numerous bees, bumblebees, hoverflies and butterflies during these autumn weeks, have been providing important nectar for many insects and three types of Bumblebees in the garden today. Here are queens of the Tree Bumblebee. I covered this species early in the year, being one of the first to emerge in spring. First colonising from Europe in 2001, in the New Forest, it has now spread north beyond Glasgow. The rest of the colony die out by now while the Queens emerge to feed up before hibernating. If you don’t already have sedums, there is a wide range of size and colour to choose from. Conditions: Sunny. Temperature: Max 16- Min 10C

Tree Bumblebee Queen on sedum

Tree Bumblebee Queen