Spring???

 

It is unnaturally warm. Some parts of Ireland it was 17 degrees Celsius today, here in the west only 15, a temperature we would be happy with in May.

The mild weather has brought out the bumblebees. Queen bumblebees hibernate over the winter. In usual years we would see the first queens emerge in mid-March.

Bombus hortorum

Bombus hortorum

The first bees were spotted by my children on Sunday, and over the last couple of days we have seen some more. This was the first one I managed to get close up to photograph.

Garden Bumble

Bombus hortorum

The spring flowering heather is a new addition to the garden planted to provide early food for the queens. They need both nectar and pollen after there long winter sleep. Heather,  crocus , hellebore, dandelion and willow are all good early food sources.

Bombus hortorum

Bombus hortorum

With Climate Change resulting in much less predictable weather patterns, bumblebees are vulnerable. If the weather turns cold again the queens can only survive a couple of days without food.

24 thoughts on “Spring???

  1. nanacathy2

    Lovely pictures. I heard a bumblebee yesterday, they seem to live quite close to our bedroom window, probably in the ivy that grows up the wall. I have also seen what I think are Brimstone butterflies this week and I don’t recall ever seeing them here before. Probably a reflection of the hot summer in 2018.

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      Yes, I saw a butterfly yesterday briefly too – I think it was a peacock, didn’t get close enough to be sure.

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  2. dust4y

    Beautiful pictures of these magnificent beings. Must plant spring flowering heather and hellebores to complete your list. Keep looking for dandelions but probably too early – all fingers crossed for them.

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      I hope your move goes well. What part of the country will you be moving to? Already they are talking of a storm this weekend!

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  3. afrenchgarden

    I think the queen bumble bees may be hardier than you think. Over here in France I often see them on warmer, sunny days in the middle of winter. They will break their hivernation and then doze off again once they have had a good top-up of nectar. Amelia

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      I hope you are right Ameila. Your French bees may be more adapted to doing that. Is there food for them when they wake on those winter days?

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  4. Cynthia Reyes

    It’s always nice to get warm weather, except when one considers the ramifications on insects like the bumblebee and the impacts on the world. I hope it’s just spring being a couple weeks early in your neck of the woods and not a danger to the bees.

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