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First bumble’s of 2013

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Could i ask if forum members and newbie’s would post in this thread when they see their first bumble’s this spring?

  I think it would be very interesting to see the variety of bumble’s emerging from hibernation and in each part of the country.

  Just let us know what town or village or city you are in, the date you saw the bee and ID if possible too. Hopefully it won’t be long now before our beloved bees return to cheer us up grin

  Thanks everyone.

     
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Great idea Ali. I’m afraid I haven’t seen one yet, although I did see one on a sunny day in December. I’m keeping a lookout and have even bought a nectar feeder which is hanging in the garden as I type. I was hoping to attract some Queens on that beautiful day we had here on Tuesday.
Did see a Honeybee though, which stopped for a warm up on a honeysuckle leaf

I’ll keep you posted smile

     
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I’ve still not seen any BB Queens myself this year, but last weekend there was some widespread sunshine at last.
I hear two of the BBCT staff saw queens flying at Stirling in Scotland over that weekend. 
Also, a fellow beekeeper told me she’d seen her first queen of the year last Sunday.  This was at Woburn Moor, not far from High Wycombe in Bucks.

During a prolonged sunny period last Tuesday, at our Allotment Site in Wycombe, I kept a close eye on a patch of Winter Heather (Erica carnea) which is usually a magnet for the first bumblebee queens. 
Sadly (and as expected) there were no BBQs, but I did see a hardy honey bee who spent ages working the heather flowers.  She was lucky to get away with it, since there was heavy hoarfrost in the shadows nearby.

So, keep looking !!

Clive

     
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Thanks Paula and Clive, good news for some grin

Still haven’t seen any here yet. I will look forward to your updates when you spot your first Queens of the year.

Come on bumble’s we are all waiting!!!!!

     
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Spring is springing at last !

It’s been cold and grey here for ages, but today we have some bright sunshine and it is a lovely spring day.

And today I’ve seen my first Queen bumblebee !

Just one.  A Buff Tailed bumblebee, B. terrestris. 
12:24.  High Wycombe, down in the Chilterns.  HP11. 
Air temperature ~6C in shade, but must have been ~8c or more where she was foraging in the sunshine, because there were also some honey bees foraging on the same patch of Winter Heathers - Erica Carnea.

This is on some allotments, where one of the plot-holders has a bee-useful patch of winter heathers. 

I keep an eye on this patch and usually see Queens there of B. terrestris, lucorum, hypnorum, pratorum and later in the season lapidarius, and pascuorum and cuckoos.

Photo to come later !            Clive

     
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Hi everyone,

I have seen my first two bumblebees of the spring. The first was on 16.02.13 in our front garden
(Eastleigh, Hampshire) . It was a huge buff tailed queen feeding briefly on a hanging basket of pansies. The second was last weekend 2.03.13 -  a short glimpse of a red tailed queen wizzing over the scrubby cliffs along Bournemouth beach.  I’ve noticed the catkins on the pussy willows at our local country park are appearing - so no doubt these will shortly become bee magnets. A good place to look for queens.  Happy spotting,  Jo

     
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Congratulations Clive and Jo!! Well spotted. Still barren here i’m afraid :-(

Thanks for sharing your sightings grin

     
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Hello, still no sightings from me only Honeybees and a Queen wasp

I belong to a forum…....NatureUK and we’re reporting our own sightings. I have tried to get other members to look in and join the BBCT ( I think there is one other member who is an existing BBCT member) however I think so many people belong to so many other organisations and the question of money possibly comes into it and you can only suggest so much smile  So anyway the point I’m trying to make is there will be always be a record on the forum and quite often photos too, so if you don’t mind I’ll pop the link on for Anthony, Elaine and anybody who’s interested can look in and see what we’re seeing.

http://s9.zetaboards.com/Nature_uk/topic/7374268/1/#new

I hope that’s ok

Paula

PS I always pop the newsletter on there in the hope….............

     
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Hi again.

Having seen my first queen (see 4th Mar above), it turned out sunny, warm and dry the next day (Tue 5th March) too.

On a local outing to garden centres and later walk mid-afternoon, I spotted three other BB queens.
1.  A probable very small B. lucorum queen working the flowers of some winter heathers in full sunshine at a garden centre (she was competing with many honey bees). 
She was so small I wondered if she could possibly be a mid-size worker from an over-wintered colony, but I think this most unlikely because we’ve had weeks of snow and cold down here since November, when I saw my last worker BBs.
2.  At the end of a walk, a few miles away, down near the Thames, I spotted a B. hypnorum queen working a patch of winter heather.
3.  To my amazement a second queen (very dark and probably a B. terrestris, but she wouldn’t stay still) who was nest searching nearby.

Since then the weather has been grey, cold and now wet, so no further sightings.
I have some photos to add to above, but these not downloaded yet !

Clive

     
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Nice sightings Clive, I’ve still not seen a Bumble this year :(

     
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Still no sightings here in Swindon :-(

     
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I had a check at the Winter Heathers at the Allotments again yesterday, when it was just a bit mild.
There were two hardy honey bees, but no bumbles - so I’m back to waiting again like Alibumble & Paula & everyone else.
No sign of anything but raindrops today either !
Clive

     
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Still no sightings here from my area of Cambridgeshire, haven’t seen a honey bee for a few couple of weeks either.
Hopefully it won’t be long until the Ribe flowers and then we should get some results

     
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At last a semi-warm but sunny day - and a bumblebee queen in my garden ~1530 BST this afternoon.

I was in my elderly garage hunting for some DIY tools when I noticed a quiet buzz outside and half saw something fly past the window.
So I dashed outside to see what it was and spotted a large B. tertrestris queen.
She was sunning and preening on the sun-warmed brick wall of my garage and there for a few minutes.
(We’ve had quite a few BB Qs doing this over the years - and several different species.)

High Wycombe.  HP11.
Air temp in the shade about 7.5C.  Soil thermometer further up the garden (~12 cm deep) ca. +1.5C.
The queen wasn’t foraging but we have a few Crocus, Hellebore and Bergenia flowering in the garden.
A single honey bee had been working the crocus flowers a bit earlier.

I’m hoping that this might be the first of many in a second flush of BB queens, after the false start about a month ago !
Photo to come later.

Clive

     
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I have had my first BB sightings of 2013 today 6 April here in South Oxfordshire.  Both were B. terrestris queens, one was huge and the other much smaller.  Both were busy foraging in a pot of crocus.

What a joy after so long.

Sparrow - Sue

     
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First sighting of the year Sat; 6th.
2 Queen B Terrestris zig zagging looking for nest sites…... Garden temp; was a barmy 11C. Sherborne Dorset.

Out of interest, last year my first sighting was the 7th Jan; 2012.

Peter