I have been a member of BBCT for a little while now. As a gardener I was becoming aware of the lack of bees in the garden, and when the WI highlighted this issue as one of there resolutions, I relised I was not the only one!
So having joined the BBCT, I decided to something positive and become a beewalker, having applied, selected my route, submitted the information and done the bee quiz (not sure how I done), brought a field guide (Bumblesbees of Great Britain & Ireland by Mike Edwards & Martin Jenner) I am now feeling very nervous, as March is approching FAST! Is it normal to feel like this?
PS This is the first time I have posted an item in a forum
Welcome to BBCT and to BeeWalk.
Thank you ever so much for joining and for taking the time to inform yourself of the plight of our bumblebees and other wild pollinators.
I must apologise for not getting your quiz results to you. I sent the last lot of results out last October. I just didn’t realise I had missed out anybody.
It sounds like you are doing all of the right things. I’m sure it is quite normal to be nervous when you are about to do something for the first time, but there is absolutely no need to be. You might even find that you won’t see any bumblebees on your March transect as it is so early in the season!
I recommend that when you are in your garden or local park, keep an eye out for Spring queens and practice your identification skills. These are the largest bumblebees and much easier to identify at this time of year before the chaos begins. If you have a digital camera, you can take photos of bees that you aren’t sure about and upload them to BeeWatch, where you will get feedback and help with identification. Surveying any wildlife group gets easier over time and if you take some time with it, you will improve each month. Just be patient.
Make sure you are signed up to the BeeWalk e-newsletter as I will try and include ID tips relevant to the season in each one. Also we will be holding more BeeWalk training workshops next and I hope to print the schedule in the next newsletter. Here is the link to the latest editition.
Please get in touch with anything you aren’t sure about and good luck with it!
Well done for getting to grips with identifying your local bumbles and doing a survey. You are in for a treat! I can’t get out and about on a regular basis these days , so my wildlife garden is still my study site. Starting first [back in 1995/1996] with one of the “other” solitary long-tongued furry bees - the foraging preferences of the Hairy-footed Flower bee [Anthophora plumipes] , I soon noticed that there was a huge overlap with early bumbles foraging the same flowers . So I started studying them too and growing bee-friendly flowers. This was immensely interesting. At this stage, it was unlikely that I would ever encounter all the British species [still haven’t!] and so I concentrated on identifying my garden “BIG 6 locals”; their colour patterns; tongue lengths/foraging preferences; queens, workers and drones. Its only when you become familiar with the regulars that you start to notice any differences - and I started to recognise my first cuckoo bumbles [and some of the solitary bees and hoverfly bee mimics]. So it goes on and last year, Bombus hypnorum, the tree bumble took over the wren’s nest box on the garage wall. The previous year, this box was used by Bombus pratorum. The advantage of using a garden as a study site is that you have lots of opportunities for close-up observations that you can then apply to your fieldwork. Whatever the outcome, as you climb up your learning curve - always enjoy the process. I only ever intended to “do” bees for a couple of years for an ecology course field project - and here I am still fascinated by it all some 15 years later!
‘bye for now,
Don’t forget to use the BBCT i/d sheets as well as the book.
Thank you for your encouragement and advise. It is the identification of bees that I am nervous about.
I am sure it will get better with practise, I have been watching bees in my garden and trying to indentify them but some times the photos in the books look nothing like the bee I have seen, so practise will be the key, along with photos.
Many thanks for your support.
Thanks Urbanbumble for sharing your great tips and your encouragement for Bee-ginners!
and thanks for reminding me…
Daisygirl, here is the link to the BBCT identification guide. You can also purchase a laminated copy for use in field from the merchandise section.
Good luck and don’t fret!