I’m down to one bumble species foraging the flowers at the moment. These bumbles are the long-tongued Bombus pascuorum and they are foraging purple Teucrium flowers [definitely a good plant to have in your garden] and comfrey. They are the last bumbles to be seen here each year and usually stay around until the first week in November. I wonder if it will be the same in 2013. How are different bumbles faring in your area, with all the high winds and rain?
I have many Common carders, still a few red-tailed males, the odd buff or white tailed females still but no others. They are feeding on lavendar and cosmos in the main. It is sad to see their numbers drop so rapidly. With the weather on the change for the colder at the weekend, i don’t expect we’ll see any more bumbles next week :-(
Hi Creepy Crawley,
Still mostly B. pascs here but in the welcome sunshine on Saturday, I was pleased to see a Bombus pratorum queen [possibly second generation] on the yellow Buddleia weyeriana ; and on Sunday, there was a large Bombus hypnorum queen on the purple Erysimum [perennial wallflower]. Both these flowers are good ones to grow in your garden. My lavender is mostly finished flowering now and I wasn’t successful at growing Cosmos this year - but it is a good one to have.
Thanks Urbanbumble. I too have seen a few Queens these last few days, a B. pascuorum and 2 buff-tailed. No more male lapidarius now but still many male pascuorum with the odd female buff/white tailed. Sad to see their slow demise.
I have always been lucky with my cosmos flowers and i still have 12 plants in flower which is keeping the remaining bees fed I have seen the queens feeding on snapdragons and delphiniums also, as they are large they like the bigger flowers.
Have you tried Phacelia? I am trying a new version next spring which is supposed to be full of nectar and pollen for the bees. Hope they like it.
Hi Creepy Crawley,
Yesterday, I actually saw a B. hypnorum queen foraging purple comfrey , also a long-tongued B. pasc male. B. hypnorum are supposed to be short tongued bumbles but she was taking nectar “properly” down the tube, & not robbing via a hole at the base of the tube. Perhaps for a queen “size matters” and her “short tongue” was actually long enough to reach the nectar.
Phacelia is a great plant to grow for bumbles - and you can dig it in as a green manure too.
As for snapdragons, its great to watch them push the flower open to gain access; but I have had no success with delphiniums, as the slugs always coppice them to ground level before they are able to flower.
Thanks Urbanbumble. Great news to hear of your observations
Yesterday i saw a B.lapidarius queen feeding from the delphinium, which the slugs haven’t munched Shame yours got eaten :-( I have also seen just a few minutes ago, a B.hypnorum queen feeding on my cosmos flowers. I thought most of the queens would be hibernating already but i have quite a number this last 7 days, so obviously not.
I have just planted my 2 varieties of Phacelia for next spring, so i hope they will grow and feed all my bees next year.
Do you have any plants planned for next year?