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First bumble’s of 2013

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BeeWatch Update

Great to see several BeeWatch submissions in the one day yesterday.
It’s been a while since that happened- another sign of spring, I hope!

15 April 2013

A Buff-tailed and Tree bumblebee queen were spotted in Yorkshire.
Queens of both these species as well as Red-tailed bumblebee were also seen in Cambridgeshire.
A Tree bumblebee queen was also spotted in Somerset.

Another BeeWatcher emailed us with some photos of a Buff-tailed queen and a good potential Common Carder!

     
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Thanks Sue and Peter, great news at last.

My first sightings were yesterday 2 B. Terrestris one large and one very small feeding on winter heather and pulmonaria.

Then today, garden temp. 15C   1 tree bumble large, 2 B. Terrestris and a B. Pratorum, i think, the early bubmblebee. What a joy to finally see some of my favourite insects. Today i am a very happy bunny! All todays bees were feeding from the pulmonaria as it’s really the only thing flowering at the moment. My bluebells have no flowers yet and the late frosts last week killed off all my crocus.

My first sighting last year was 24th February!

     
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Hi All,

Another rather big update. 
It’s been warm & dry down here again today, 15C+ and my soil thermometer is showing 9C this evening.
Plenty of bumblebee queens about too.

We saw a few BB queens in the garden during lunchtime, certain I/Ds of B. terrestris & B. pratorum.
About 13:30 my wife called me to rescue a BBQ that had entered the greenhouse and got trapped.  She was crawling around on the ground and was a good-sized B. hypnorum, so I popped her in a 35mm cassette film tub and brought her indoors.  She weighed 0.38g.  I will give her a syrup feed later and probably pop her into a birdbox to see if she can be persuaded to set up home !  (See also the B. hyp 2013 thread.)

Mid afternoon I went looking at the Winter Heathers on our Allotment site, and later a bit further afield. 
E carnea: 1 honey bee, later a B. hypnorum queen visited briefly, but mainly these flowers were very quiet again - probably because the bees were mainly working Willow.
Elsewhere on the allotments, the Red Deadnettle flowers were being worked by a B. pascuorum queen - my first of the year.  Photo available.  She was very rich coloured and very clean, but I could only see her from a distance, or zoomed-in photo. 
A. plumipes males also around, with their characteristic darting flight - totally different to the pascuorum, who was taking her time and filling up with nectar.
On another plot with Red deadnettle there was a B. terrestris queen working the flowers - I guess a big queen has a long tongue, so can work these deep flowers OK !

A few 100metres away is another allotment site (semi-abandoned) with a good number of Sallow willow trees around the edges. 
Male and female catkins out.
The male (pussy willow) catkins were quite busy, with BBQs, B terrestris mostly, but also a B hypnorum.  Also honey bees.  The catkins being worked mainly for nectar.  One B. terrestris queen had pollen in her corbiculae, so must have started up a nest - my first pollen carrying BBQ this year.
Little insect activity on the female catkins today, but bees have worked them avidly in the past.

On the way back I spotted a B. hortorum queen working Violet flowers, and after a bit, she tucked herself in amongst the leaves and did some sunning.  Photos available.  I’ve been wondering which insects worked Violets for ages, but until today had only seen A. plumipes working them.
(This might well have been the same queen as I saw yesterday, working Red Deadnettle.)

So, it looks to me as though the cold March hasn’t killed off too many of the hibernating bumblebee queens - which is a great relief so far !

Now I want to see more pollen carrying queens !
And still no sign of lapidarius: but that doesn’t surprise me, they are usually later.

Clive

     
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First sighting of the year today in Edinburgh! AT LAST!!!!!

     
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Belated report from a newbies diary; 19th Feb. First Bom. Terr. Queen. Liskeard Cornwall. I’ve seen several B.T. Queens since, but no other species yet.

     
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I had to go down to Kent yesterday - family funeral.

Since I don’t think we’ve had any reports from Kent yet, I’ll record that I saw two B. terrestris queens nest searching in the Shipbourne area, a few miles north of Tonbridge.
In some woodland we passed through on route there were masses of Wood Anemones in flower - very beautiful.

Clive

     
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First sightings this week from Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk -
Hypnorum (several on heather) (15/4)
Pratorum queens (2) on flowering currant (18/4)
Pascuorum queen - looked dead on path, but started crawling and buzzed wings when put in the hedge.(18/4)
Also rescued a large terrestris queen which had flown (or been blown!) in through open bedroom window (15/4)

     
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Great sightings thanks for sharing.

Today i swear i saw a red-tailed bumble but not sure if it was red-tailed or red shanked, only saw her briefly flying away but body was black with red tail. Surprised as i thought they emerged much later in the season.

Also saw a common carder working the pulmonaria yesterday and today.

As i write this i have an exhausted Hypnorum in my greenhouse, found on my path not moving in this gale force wind. I have fed her and she is hopefully warming up and i will let her go as soon as she attempts to fly but is currently sitting still and not moving.

I also think i saw a Lucorum this afternoon but it was a quick glance but her tail was whiter than white!

All in all i have seen many bees the last few days. Thanks for all your posts grin

     
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Hi everyone,
Yet another FIRST for 2013 - a Bombus pratorum queen yesterday afternoon in the warm sunshine;  and a Bombus terrestris queen checking out a log pile….
urbanbumble

     
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Quite a few bees about today but all at high level floating about the tops of the fir trees in the sun.

     
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I took a look at several Sallow (Pussy Willow) trees at about 17:00 this afternoon.
I didn’t think I’d see many bees, but was very wrong !
It was cloudy, breezy and not especially warm (~12C ?), but there were BB queens working almost all the trees I looked up into.
This is an area of flatish ground in the base of the wide valley of High Wycombe, in the Bucks Chilterns.

Both male (Pussy Willow) and female willow catkins were being worked.
There were 4 queens on some trees, maybe more - and a few honey bees and an A. plumipes male around too.

Most of the queens were large B. terrestris, but I saw several B. hypnorum and my first B. lucorum of the April active season.
One hypnorum was collecting pollen.

Later I checked the Winter heather patch as usual at the local allotments. 
To my surprise, there were two queens there : a B. pratorum, collecting pollen; and a rather small B. lucorum queen, just feeding on nectar.

So, if you want to see some BB activity, I can thoroughly recommend checking the local willow trees !

Clive

     
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I did see a red-tailed B. Lapidarius for certain today! Early i think.

     
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I’m seeing a lot of Bees now…..................mainly on the Ribe a B.lapidarius B terrestris and B hortorum and on the Pulmonaria I’m seeing B pratorum.

I have to say there’s still not much in flower yet but hopefully everything will spring into action soon with a few more sunny days smile

     
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First B.pratorum I’ve seen today in West Yorkshire, is there a way of submitting records to beewatch without a photo? the queens are a bit fast to photo when not feeding

     
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28.4.2013 - A Bombus hortorum bumble queen at last, foraging the variegated yellow archangel [Bombus hypnorum like to visit these flowers too].  Still waiting to see Bombus lucorum and Bombus lapidarius - and soon there should be the regular cuckoo bumbles.
urbanbumble.