Friday, 10 June 2016
"Bombus hypnorum" in a box!
We have a happy band of 'Tree Bumblebees' in the Wren nest in the bird box on the fence
They started arriving three days ago and I first spotted them when I went out into the garden to see what the cat was getting so excited about...... this is what I discovered...
Having never seen a bee with these markings before I went a Googling...this is taken from and article in the Telegraph. You can read it in full here
"Several bumblebees are found in Europe, but not in Britain, and one that many naturalists always thought “should” be here is the tree bumblebee, Bombus hypnorum. The tree bumblebee is found throughout much of Europe, as far north as the Arctic Circle. It also seems to like gardens, and has generally become more abundant during the 20th century. So there was no great surprise among the bee cognoscenti when a specimen was captured on the northern edge of the New Forest in 2001. Because bumblebees are social – that is, they live in colonies – if you find one bumblebee there are inevitably plenty more somewhere nearby.
Since 2001, the tree bumblebee has spread rapidly, with the first records from Wales in 2009. I saw it for the first time in my Sheffield garden in 2010, and in June last year (the peak month for activity of this species) it was by far the commonest bumblebee in my neighbourhood. There seems no reason why it shouldn’t eventually colonise the whole country, but it isn’t everywhere yet. I looked for it on the south coast of Devon in June last year, and didn’t see any.
British bumblebees generally nest in holes in the ground, or on the surface in tussocky grassland. The tree bumblebee, as its name suggests, nests in holes in trees and is particularly fond of nest boxes provided for birds. These nesting habits are so different from any native bee that there is no reason to expect it to compete with them. Like all bumblebees, B. hypnorum is a useful pollinator and completely harmless as long as you leave it alone."
There is another interesting article about them in the Guardian
There is actually a website where you can log sightings of Bees, Wasps and Ants, and a map of all last years sightings.
As I like all geeky things like that my sighting has been added to the rest.
My first concern was, where they going to develop into a large swarm, but no, they have just crammed themselves into the small bird box and no more have come to join them. There seem to be three bees on guard duty at all time as they hover back and forth near the entrance.
It is such a privilege to have them here, feel greatly honoured by their company