Anthony’s blog

The views, opinions and positions expressed within this blog are those of the author alone. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors or omissions.

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Blaeberry bumblebee bonanza!


My search to see the Blaeberry bumblebee (Bombus monticola) has featured in severeal of my blogs in the past. It started with my (unsuccessful) search in 2012, when I climbed hills that were well-known Blaeberry bee sites. Then I was extremely lucky to find a single male of the species last year, just as the summer came to an end. But this year I’ve hit the motherload!

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Gardening without peat

I’m rarely out of the garden in the spring and summer months. In fact, I’m writing this from my garden, and when I look in front of me I can see the lapis-blue muscari and narcissi dancing in the breeze. The saxifrages are just coming into bloom too, and a few tulips are budding. I do my best to have a garden full of flowers and wildlife, but I’ve been concerned lately with the amount of peat that goes in to producing compost for gardens. Peat is a natural material that has been built up over thousands of years in the boglands of the UK and the rest of Europe. It’s used in compost because of its remarkable ability to hold water and nutrients, making it a very attractive product.

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Bumblebee surveying - whatever the weather!

Last weekend I delivered my first bumblebee survey training event of the year. I was training the volunteers of the Sustrans charity, all of whom are already involved in surveying the biodiversity of stretches of the public transport infrastructure in Scotland.

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Attracting bees to nest in your garden

I've been trying for a few years to attract bees to nest in my garden. I get plenty of visitors, but no residents, so I've tried harder this year to make by garden more attractive for prospecting queen bees.

Queen bumblebees will look for nests in different places, often depending on the species. For example, the Tree bumblebee, Bombus hypnorum, almost always nests above ground in bird boxes and lofts. But most other bumblebees will nest in tussocks of grass, thick moss (like the Common carder bee, pictured left), or cavities under paving slabs, sheds and decking. They basically want a cavity that is large enough to accommodate a growing nest, which is well-drained and hidden from predators.

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It’s not often the Queen comes to visit…

One of our conservation officers for the South West, Aoife O’Rourke, had a surprise visit this morning. Here is her account of what happened:

So I sauntered down to the living room to have my breakfast this morning, only to notice that I had not one, but two visitors crawling around my floor- two very hungry Tree bees!! The Tree bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum) is one of the first species to emerge from hibernation, so I've seen a few flying around outside.

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