11 May 2011

A few more Bumblebees in the garden

I snapped these Red-tails (Bombus lapidarius) on the Wall Cotoneaster in the garden today, where there were two queens and a few workers, with another queen on an ornamental speedwell.
B. lapidarius queen
B. lapidarius worker
I couldn't resist posting today's record shot of a male Tree Bumblebee, even though it may possibly be the same as yesterdays! No doubt in years to come when the species is abundant, we'll laugh at how excited we were seeing this species colonise our gardens. Yesterday Nigel Williams, the centre manager at WWT Llanelli, happened to be visiting when we spotted our uncommon bee; today I received a text from him saying there was one on a Cotoneaster outside the visitor centre. I've just checked the latest distribution map at http://www.bwars.com/bombus_hypnorum_map.htm and Nigel's record is new for his 10km square. There are still many blank squares in our area so keep an eye open for this distinctive bee and make sure that you report your sightings to the national scheme, so its spread can be monitored.
B. hypnorum male
Favoured bee plants in our garden at present include, roughly in order of preference:
Wall Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster horizontalis)
Geranium [medium flowered pale pink type] (Geranium sp.)
Iris [tall blue narrow-flowered type] (Iris sp.)
Speedwell (Veronica sp.)
Perennial Cornflower (Centaurea montana)
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)


Mark Hipkin said...

Hypnorum in the garden up here also today. Looked like a worker but, I was unable to get the camera in time so can't be sure. Nice to see it though, I was thinking I would have to wait until July/August again.

Barry Stewart said...

If it was a worker then hopefully you should a few more over the coming weeks. What plants are your bees favouring?

Mark Hipkin said...

Another sighting of hypnorum today, briefly. During both sightings I've not observed it nectaring. Yesterday it was between a clematis and erica, both popular with bees recently but going over rapidly. Today it was between a rhododendron and a jasminum. There's not much on offer other than that, the cotoneaster we have doesn't look too good at the moment maybe as a result of the recent dry spell.

David Carrington said...

In our Porthcawl garden, early bumblebees are the main species on Cotoneaster at the moment with a few B. hyponorum workers and B.lucorum/B.terrestris. Comfrey flowers are attracting Common carder bees which don't show any interest in the Cotoneaster.

PS Glad I'm not the only eccentric who stands next to Cotoneaster bushes photographing bees!

Nigel Ajax Lewis said...

Having mutter about my envy to Mark yesterday evening in Neath, I come home this evening to meet my first B. hypnorum on Cotoneaster in my garden, swiftly followed by a second one. The obvious distinguishing characteristic between the two was that one was about twice the size of the other. I can die happy now, although I am looking forward to see them again tomorrow...

Barry Stewart said...

Nigel, welome to the 'hypnorum in my garden club'. You'll have to find a new life-long ambition now :o)

Barry Stewart said...

2 Tree Bees in the garden today...