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Weather and the effect on Queen Bees

Rank

Total Posts: 3

Joined 2014-02-01

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I have been gardening for bees for the last 12 years and have noticed an increase during this period.  I live in a low lying area and the garden is sodden with pools of water lying across it.  Usually during warm spells in the winter the queens come out of feed on Mahonia etc, that I have planted.  Sadly I have not seen any during this wet spell.    Could they have drowned ??

     
RankRank

Total Posts: 27

Joined 2012-05-23

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Hi Cheryl,

first of all welcome to the forum, always good to have “Newbies” join the site and hopefully the Trust.

Like you, I also have a worry that a lot of our new queens will drown in this horrendous weather we are having.
As I live on the Somerset & Dorset border, my main concern is for the Rare and Beautiful Shrill Carder Bee (B Sylvarum) which are found in about 7 sites in the UK, the Somerset Levels being one of them. Which as you would have seen on TV and in the papers, still remains flooded !!! The villages of Muchelney and Thorney are for the best part only accessible by rubber dingy or tractor & trailer. Last year I walked a lot around these areas and saw a few Shrill Carders…... but this year….. I do worry !!!
As the nest searching queens fly fairly late, often not until the beginning of May, it will be some time before we know :(

Peter

     
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Total Posts: 3

Joined 2014-02-01

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Hi Peter,

Lets hope things turn out better than we think, nature surprises us, in my experience.  Yes I have been watching the news and have been horrified by the floods on the levels.  I do so hope for all our sakes and for the wildlife, this ghastly weather finishes…....
Will be in touch if I see any queens, in fact any bees…....

     
RankRankRank

Total Posts: 101

Joined 2012-05-31

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Hello

the recent weather has been apocalyptic. The south-west has got an awful hammering. Although I can’t be sure I feel that we will lose some hibernating queens due to flooding.
But as Cheryl says nature surprises us. And there is a silver lining. Bumblebees have adaptations to maximise their survival rate. One of these is that new queens at the end of summer can disperse quite far to find hibernation spots. This means that a successful nest that has produced many queens is not putting all its eggs in one basket so to speak. Also I believe that they try to choose hibernation spots on higher ground for instance on banked ground.
The hibernation stage is a very tough stage for bumblebees and it is normal for a proportion to be lost even in the absence of the worst weather in 100 years.

Let’s be hopeful.
Here is Anthony’s take on hibernation

http://bumblebeeconservation.org/news/anthonys-blog/bumblebee-hibernation

     
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Total Posts: 3

Joined 2014-02-01

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Elaine,

Your comment is uplifting and gives me hope.  Many years ago now I raised some areas of the garden and dotted broken pots in the mounds with the hope they would be useful to bees at some point.    At the end of the day, there s a wildlife garden here which will be full of wildflowers when the Spring arrives….....bulbs winter flowering shrubs are all waiting for them if warmer weather arrives.    Lets hope the Spring holds some warmer weather.