Against the Odds

I took this photo last September. At the time, this newly emerged queen buff tailed bumblebee was building up her fat stores, before hibernating for the winter. In the next couple of weeks, against the odds of all an Irish winter can throw at them, queen bumbles will start emerging from their winter hibernation. When they emerge, it is vital that they find sources of pollen and nectar to restore what they have lost over the winter and to allow them to start building a new nest and laying eggs. In this way, they start the whole bumblebee life cycle all over again.

Buff tailed bumblebee

Buff tailed bumblebee

What can you do to help? Ensure a plentiful supply of nectar and pollen rich plants in your garden. Good early plants include crocuses, snowdrops, willows (female – ie with catkins), and fruit tree blossoms. If you have a lawn allow dandelions to flower before cutting.

Start thinking about what you can plant for the summer. Most herbs are great for bees. Many traditional cottage garden type flowers are also good like delphiniums, bellflowers, lupnis, foxgloves and aquilegia. Annuals like nasturtiums, snapdragon and poppies are all worth growing too.

33 thoughts on “Against the Odds

  1. Pingback: Against the Odds: Pokemon Go  | What's (in) the picture?

  2. Julie

    I have heard and seen some Queen Bumble Bees this weekend and one feeding on Sarcoccoca confusa, a great winter flowering shrub to add to your list. My top plant for Summer is Phacelia tanacetifolia for pollinators, although it’s a green manure, the flowers are beautiful, self seeds easily and organic seed is easy to find.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      I thought I heard a buzz today but it was a false alarm! Yes Phacelia is good. I did set some last year but a bit late in the season, so didn’t get much flower, so must do better this year!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jane

    Have snowdrops, crocuses, willow etc but need more. And definitely need more of the cottage garden types and annuals that you suggest. Beautiful picture. It’s all about awareness so, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person


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