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/).
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.
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!