I am in my second year of BeeWalk and last month when I did my walk (30th June) I was really confused because I was sure I seen a couple of queens. How early do we start to see new queens emerge? I was confused because last year was a late spring and I definately didn’t see queens until about August/September time.
I am almost certain they were queens though, a buff tail and perhaps an early too. They were large and had the distinct loud hum of a queen bee.
Would appreciate some clarity from you more experienced bee walkers
It depends on the species and the weather - last year was very late, and so queens were correspondingly late being produced, but this year was very early - I was seeing males and new queens of Bombus pratorum from the second half of April, and several other species weren’t far behind, especially hypnorum. Bombus terrestris in particular is fairly straightforward to check thanks to the dimorphism between workers/males and queens, so if you thought it was a queen, it probably was!