Thursday, 24 March 2016

Queens Awaken !

I have been reading reports of Bumblebee sightings with envy from various sites and blogs, but for me nothing, no sign in the garden, no sign in my local patch at Ashenbank Woods.
But with temperatures warming up, there re-emergence would surely be imminent.

 And so it was, March 21st, as I glanced out of the window watching the birds on the feeders, my first sighting of the year, a Bumblebee of sorts,  flying around the flowering Blackcurrant which has been in flower for a few days now. always attractive to the Bees.

Perfect timing for the local Buff Tailed Bumblebee queens which have overwintered in last years nests, their time has come to start a new colony, known as the "Initiation phase of the colony"

These large queens are quite visible now as they search out sources of pollen and nectar to feed the  larvae that have emerged from the first small batch of eggs that she has laid,  these pupate and  emerge as "workers" a few weeks later.

These workers, smaller than the queens, will then undertake the foraging duties. and life in the colony is underway.

Strangely these initial sightings coincided with my first sighting at my local patch Ashenbank woods.

Buff Tailed Bumblebee gathering pollen from willow catkins at Ashenbank  Woods

The Buff tailed Queens were not the only Bees on view the Western Honeybee were also competing for the limited pollen and nectar sources.

Western Honeybee

These willow catkins seem to be a much better food source for the Honeybees in the woods.

The surprise sighting back in the garden, all in the same day, was a single female Hairy footed flower bee, these usually emerge several weeks after the brown coloured males, but this is the first I have seen, nice to see them back.

Female Hairy footed flower Bee

Thats a good start to the Bee watching season

1 comment:

  1. Yes, think it is Buff tailed queens who have been the first to emerge here. And then gone back to bed again