Summer is long gone, and with autumn setting in we are seeing the males of most species of bumblebee on the wing. Males are only produced towards the end of the bumblebee lifecycle, as the first broods are all female worker bumblebees. Males of some species are easy to spot because of the yellow tufts of hair on their faces, like this White-tailed bumblebee that I found.
I was recently leading bee walks at the beautiful Cruickshank botanic gardens in Aberdeen, and was surprised to see six species still active, including the dark form of the Field cuckoo bumblebee. This was my first sighting of the dark form (which is completely black) of this species, so I was very happy to be there that day! The events in Aberdeen were part of the British Science Festival, and we linked up with our partners at Aberdeen University who are helping to run our online BeeWatch survey. If you haven’t already taken part in BeeWatch, it couldn’t be easier! You just need to take photos of any bumblebees you see, and upload them to the BeeWatch website, (click here to go to the BeeWatch website). You can then have a go at identifying the bees, but we will get back to you with a confirmed identification for any photos you submit. These records will be used to produce maps of the distribution of these bumblebees, so they contribute greatly to our knowledge of bumblebee populations.
The flower beds at Cruickshank Botanic gardens, Aberdeen
I’ve also been hard at work in my garden this weekend, planting pots with bulbs of flowers (bee-friendly, of course!) and collecting seeds. More on that in my next post though…