18 September 2012 11:05 AM
I am so upset today as autumn is beginning and tonight we are due our first frost because i know it means that many bees, especially the poor males, will die tonight. It is a downward spiral for all the bees from now on and the thought of it is so upsetting.
I know we will have more bees next year but they are such sweet little things and they have such sad faces anyway, the thought of what they will go through over the coming days fills me with sadness.
Sorry for being so depressing but the bees are my little ray of sunshine and life is much harder without their presence every day.
Bless them all :-(
18 September 2012 01:29 PM #1
It is true that this is the end of the line for most of the bumblebees and it won’t be same without them around.
But Autumn is a beautiful time of year so I hope you can take comfort in the beautiful foliage that will be on display.
There should be lots of bird life around too as millions of birds come to Britain to over-winter. Look out for the amazing flocking behaviour of Starlings, usually happens about an hour before dusk.
Apparently some bumblebees in the far south of the country can survive through the winter! But I haven’t heard of this first hand, it has been alluded to in books.
The great thing is that the cycle will continue again next year.
So I intend to have much rest and recuperation over the winter and I look forward to seeing my first spring queen next year,
all the best, elaine
18 September 2012 02:52 PM #2
18 September 2012 04:25 PM #3
Hi Alibumble and Elaine,
Come on now Alibumble, bee brave and show a little “stiff upper lip” !
But, if you are a soft southerner like me (Southern Bucks about 5 miles north of the Thames), and keep your eyes on the Mahonia bushes during the late autumn and winter, you might get a little winter-time glimpse of spring.
Here’s a photo of a B. terrestris worker taken on January 17th 2009. She was working the Mahonia flowers for both nectar and pollen.
I’ve seen this going on in November too - last year: but then we had a really hard winter and no bees seen until the spring emergence.
Another plant to watch is Winter Heathers (Erica carnea I presume) whose flowers are just loved by BB Qs on sunny days from February onwards. Then watch the Pussy Willow catkins after that.
18 September 2012 07:03 PM #4
This is the first year I’ve taken a closer interest in Bumblebees. I think this is, in the main, thanks to this website as the bees suddenly become so much more interesting if you can (with help from my learned friends on here) identify what you’re seeing. Now my attention has been caught I’m very much looking forward to seeing how late in this year I’m still seeing bumblebees about & how soon next year it is before I spot my first bee - hopefully it will be as early as Clive’s wonderful January 17th sighting, although I somehow doubt that up here in NW Lancs perma-frost.
It’ll even be interesting to see the behaviour of the ill-fated bees that are destined not to survive much longer this autumn - although also, as Alibumble points out it, will be slightly tinged with sadness.
Elaine BBCT Surveys Officer - 18 September 2012 01:29 PM
Look out for the amazing flocking behaviour of Starlings, usually happens about an hour before dusk.
Elaine - we’re very lucky here in Blackpool to have two good sites for starling roosts - Marton Mere Nature Reserve & also North Pier - two venues I’ve spent many an evening mesmerised by the murmarations - I’ve taken the liberty of attaching a photo from each of the above places.
19 September 2012 08:47 AM #5
I’m with Alibumble here….bumblebees are such a joy in the garden and as a keen gardener they are my constant companions when I’m out there weeding. I was at a garden centre on Thursday and saw two large terrestris Queens foraging amongst the late blooms, I always find the Autumn quite depressing anyway because a lot of the plants that I grow are going over. I try to grow specifically for bumbles though and the verbena bonariensis are still going strong providing nectar for the carder bees, solitary bees and hover flies. I shall start planning next year’s planting soon and already have a few bee friendly bulbs ready to go into pots for emerging Spring Queens. Think ahead Alibumble…make a bug hotel, get out the seed catalogues and plan. I want to try using the photographs that I’ve taken over the summer to draw pictures of bumbles to cheer me up too. They probably won’t be very good, but drawing the little sweeties will hopefully improve my identification skills.
19 September 2012 10:31 AM #6
Thank you for giving us hope Clive! Maybe all is not lost, I will now keep my eyes peeled for some winter bumblebees!
Martinmere has been on my radar for years but I’ve still not managed a visit, Cliff. You are so lucky. Your photos of starlings are absolutely beautiful. The best murmuration I ever saw was over a bridge (possibly the Albert bridge) near Belfast city centre on a January afternoon in 2006, one of my last days living there!
Thank you CPB for the super advice! And drawing is a fantastic way to familiarise yourself with anatomy and tuning in to those more subtle differences between species. I wish I had that talent.
19 September 2012 12:15 PM #7
Hi all and a big thank you to all who have replied.
Clive and Cheery thanks for the advice. Cpb i have already sown wildflower seeds in my garden ready for next summer, after removing 3 large buddliea’s, so am thinking of my babies for next year. I just wish i could keep some of the bumble’s in my kitchen over the winter and take care of them…lol.
Thanks all, much appreciated
22 September 2012 08:42 AM #8
A marked reduction in the number of bees in the garden when I got home from work yesterday, with just a few Common Carder bees present & that’s despite it being quite a nice sunny afternoon. We’ve had our first frost this morning & I had to scrape ice off the car windscreen before setting off out, but a sunny day is forecast so I’ll be keeping an eye out for bees visiting the garden.
Elaine BBCT Surveys Officer - 19 September 2012 10:31 AM
Martinmere has been on my radar for years but I’ve still not managed a visit
Elaine, just to clarify, the starling photo with the tower in the background was taken at Marton Mere nature reserve here in Blackpool as opposed to its almost namesake Martin Mere WWT reserve near Southport - both well worth a visit though, especially over the winter months.
08 October 2012 02:06 PM #9
We’ve been having frosts up her in Stirling for the past couple of weeks, but I’ve still seen some bumblebees about. Almost all of the males are gone now, but I’ve seen the occasional queen fly by at great speed - presumably looking for hibernation sites. They’d better hurry up!
09 October 2012 12:02 PM #10
Thanks Anthony, yes those queens need to hurry, poor girls.
I have still seen a few male carder bees over the weekend but no other males at all and haven’t seen any females or queens for quite a number of weeks here in Swindon. I was surprised not to see any females for weeks because i thought i would see them for longer, as they have a nest to hide in from the bad weather. It’s strange i think. Yet the males who have no respite from the weather seem to be still struggling on, bless them
I will miss them all over the winter and will be looking forward very much to seeing my furry babies , hopefully early next spring.
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