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.

Share

Some fascinating facts about bumblebees

I recently asked our Outreach Assistant, Rebecca, what the most interesting things she has learned about bumblebees since she started working with us. Rebecca's list was long so I've asked to write them down for everyone to enjoy!

more...
Share

What’s the best lavender?

Until recently, I assumed that all lavenders were equally as attractive to bees and other pollinators. I almost always see something feeding upon all the lavenders in my garden, and I tend not to be picky when choosing them at the garden centre.

However, new research by Mihail Garbuzov and Francis L.W. Ratnieks has found great differences in the species and cultivars. The research, published in the Functional Ecology journal, compared the attractiveness of 32 popular summer-flowering plants to pollinating insects. The most-visited plants varied over the two years of the study, with Nepeta (Catmint) Agastache (Giant hyssop), Salvia (Sage), Hyssopus (Hyssop) and various lavenders being consistently the most often visited.

It was no surprise to Pelargonium (sometimes called annual geranium) at the bottom of the list, having hardly being visited at all. It was a surprise however to see that some lavender cultivars were close to the bottom, with very few visits!

more...
Share

Why have a bee-friendly garden?

Last week I was contacted by a person who runs the website for an outdoors holiday company. They are currently making their gardens more bee-friendly, and wanted to hear from us for a piece on the website. I realised that many of the questions were good ones, so I've copied my answers to the questions into this blog.

How important are bees to wildlife preservation?

Bees are extremely important because of their role in helping plants to reproduce. Most flowering plants need to be pollinated by insects, and bees are some of the best pollinators because they can visit hundreds of flowers a day. This helps wildflowers to produce seeds, which is essential if they are to survive. As flowering plants are the basis of many food chains, bees can be seen to support whole ecosystems, simply by helping these plants through pollination.

more...
Share

Reflecting on last year

As the new year begins, it’s a good chance to reflect on some of the work that I and the rest of the team have done over the past year.

In 2013, we delivered 48 talks, 35 bee walks, 25 ID training events, attended 44 shows or fairs, delivered six volunteer workshops and nine farm days.

more...
Share

Bumblebee hibernation

Most bumblebee queens should be hibernating now. Hibernation in UK bumblebees usually lasts 6-9 months, so when you consider that queens only live for about a year, this means that more than half of their life is spent in hibernation!

more...