It’s been an immensely busy few weeks at the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, so today is my first chance to reflect on everything that’s been happening. Since the launch of our new Bees for Everyone project, it’s been a whirlwind of talks, fairs and shows that have taken me up and down the country.
Our first major show with our new look and materials was a three-day stint at Gardening Scotland, Scotland’s biggest gardening show. Dawn and I were perfectly placed in the Garden for Life area, where I was able to give a few tours around the winning garden, designed and created by Sheila Filsell from Elmwood College. Hopefully this showed some of the visitors how they could make their garden more bee-friendly, and that the plants they picked up that day were rich in pollen and nectar for the bees. I also believe that I found the most bee-friendly square meter of land in the country, with Green Routes’ pallet garden, which had a Bee kind score of over 1,000!
Green Routes’ bee-friendly pallet garden
This was all good preparation for a marathon 6-days (!) at BBC Gardeners’ World Live. I was joined by Nick Mann from Habitat Aid, who brought along his amazing Bumblarium. Stretching across our stand, this great enclosure was home to a nest of buff-tailed bumblebees, and certainly was effective at attracting people to us. At first, the Bumblarium was a little cold for the bees, and they were reluctant to come out of the nest. However, it soon warmed up, and the workers could be seen flying through their new home and feeding on the flowers of the wildflower meadow turf that was inside. The busy bees got a lot of attention, and the Bumblarium was often surrounded by people having a chat about bees, or simply watching them hard at work. It gave us a great opportunity to talk to people about BBCT’s work, and we were showing off the bumblebee-friendly Bee kind tool and encouraging people to rate their gardens’ bee-friendliness. If you haven’t already found your Bee kind score, go here to do it.
A huge thanks to Ron, Sam, and Boyd, who all volunteered at BBC Gardeners’ World – their help made all the difference.
I’ve also been continuing my mission to see all of the cuckoo bumblebees, and it’s gone rather well so far. While leading some bee walks at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh, I found the Field cuckoo bee, a Forest cuckoo bee male, and a possible Southern cuckoo bee male – not a bad haul for one weekend! Even though these bees invade and often destroy the nest of the social bumblebees, I find their behaviour fascinating, and enjoy watching them just as much as I do the more industrious true bumblebees.
The Southern cuckoo bee, Bombus vestalis
So that’s what I’ve been up to! It’s no time for the team here to rest on our laurels though, and there are many more events coming up this summer to keep us busy. Have a look at our events calendar to see if there’s anything happening near to you. Hope to see you there!