Slowly but surely bees are beginning to buzz in the Botanics this slow, late spring. As more flowers come into bloom more bees, and more bee species, emerge. There are now quite a few Buff-tailed Bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) all over the Garden, most of them queens and some of them searching for possible nest sites. This week, Common Carder Bees Bombus pascuorum, White-tailed Bumblebee Bombus lucorum, and a couple of Red-tailed Bumblebees Bombus lapidarius have also been seen. I’ve also even seen a couple of Honey Bees Apis mellifera – perhaps from the Garden’s own hive over in the Nursery?
Like other insects, however, bees are emerging much later than last year in the Botanics. Last year Honey Bees and Buff-tailed Bumblebees were out in February. This year the first Honey Bee was actually seen on 1 March, but then cold weather set in and things are only now beginning to pick up again. As I write this at the end of this week, the weather has turned chilly again and there has been a corresponding drop in bee numbers compared with the beginning of the week which was milder.