First bees

I was so excited today to see my first bee of the year. It was a Bombus lucorum queen, otherwise know as the White-tailed bumblebee. It was feeding on a hellebore I have sitting in a pot on the picnic table on the patio. With the weather warming up, and some nice sunshine, I’d been on the look out for the last few days. But until today I had only seen more of the droneflies I mentioned in a previous post  (https://murtaghsmeadow.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/first-wild-pollinators-and-brassicas-of-the-season/).

Bombus lucorum

Bombus lucorum

Last year, the first bee was spotted on the 15th March, so just a few days earlier. It was a Buff-tailed (Bombus terresreis) queen, a very similar species (https://murtaghsmeadow.wordpress.com/2014/03/15/buff-tailed-bumblebees/). In fact, it is so similar that it is not possible to tell the workers of both species apart.

Bombus lucorum

The sight of the bees – saw another later in the day, inspired me to get a bit more work done on the new flower bed. Bees need a continuous supply of nectar and pollen and us gardeners can do a lot to help them. Wild flower meadows are declining world wide so we need to help the bees out. In return, they provide us a vital service pollinating much of our fruit and vegetable crops from apples to the cocoa bean!

Bombus Lucorum

 

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18 thoughts on “First bees

  1. Eliza Waters

    How exciting! I usually see our first bees in the crocus. I love hearing bees droning lazily in the blossoms! However, I will have to wait a wee bit longer than you. We still have at least a foot of snow. 😉

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  2. mamadeyoung2012

    wow, lucky you! So jealous as our bumbles haven’t been sighted yet…they have been increasing over the years and we had quite a few broods last year in different parts of the garden. I did happen upon a honey bee yesterday getting water from our pond. Someone nearby has a hive going as its wasn’t warm enough for a bee to travel any great distance…although we are due for another bout of snow…4-6 inches, yesterday and today’s mild temps are encouraging; spring is in the air. All the best to you in your gardening endeavors

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  3. Robbie

    I am so far behind in playing catch-up! It snowed today here + ice covered roads for early morning travel. 15 inches of snow up North. My husband and I worked for the past few days to clear out the winter leaves, beds etc. We ground up the leaves and fed them back into the flower beds-no bees here yet, but I feel it is coming!
    You are so right we need to plant for hte bees. I had a few crocus blooming, but no bees..they would of frozen today! ‘
    Lovely photos:-)
    You captured their fuzzy nature:-) I could just pet them everytime , I see them!

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      We’d couple of more bees over weekend and a butterfly (an overwintering tortoiseshell) but it’s a bit cooler again today. Hope the snow clears soon – I think it’s been a long winter for you.

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  4. Jane

    How lovely to see the beautiful pictures you and the bees create. Must be difficult for them in this stop-start approach to spring. Do they go back to their ‘winter’ place on cold days, I wonder.

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      They may already have found a nesting chamber and that is what they’ll return too to wait out the cold wet days.

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  5. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

    Reblogged this on Wild Pollinator Gardens and commented:

    There are quite a few queen bees around now, mostly White and Buff tailed Queens. This was the first one of the year though – blogged on my other site on the 19th March.

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  6. Pingback: Bees, brassicas and comfrey | Murtagh's Meadow

  7. Pingback: Bumbles are Back! | Murtagh's Meadow

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