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.

I gave them some hyacinth flowers to feed on (from an indoor plant I have), which got them all revved up, so then I showed them the door and they flew off into the misty day.

In the past few weeks I have released four queen wasps from our house, and these two ladies. I'm starting to think that our house is a hibernation haven for Hymenoptera. My partner and I live in an old house with nice stone walls inside and out, made of Ham stone. This type of stone has lots of crevices and cracks, which can be very inviting to a whole range of hibernating insects, including bees and wasps.

If you find that you have some surprise visitors of the bumblebee variety in your home the best thing that you can do is put them outside in a sheltered place, even if the weather is bad. Bumblebees only have a limited life span, and they need to be outside to complete their life cycles, so it's best to let them out to do that.

In spring time it is particularly likely that your visitor is a queen bee fresh out of hibernation. She may appear very slow and lethargic at first, however if you offer her a nectar-rich flower or a sugar solution (50/50 sugar and warm water). She should lap up the nectar or sugar solution, and use the energy it provides to heat her body up and fly off to start a nest.

What kind of visitors have you had this spring?

A royal guest having her breakfast

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