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Author Topic: Gardening for Bumble Bees in the UK  (Read 1611 times)

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow: over-crowded already. You really don't want to live here actually.
Re: Gardening for Bumble Bees in the UK
« Reply #30 on: January 02, 2022, 07:31:05 pm »
The link provided by Steph Hen (reply #26) is not to the guide that I was thinking of.  Of course, I might just be imagining.  Thanks anyway Steph Hen. 

While searching I found this interesting/informative site:  http://www.bloomsforbees.co.uk/
It covers all 25 species known in the UK, common and rare.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2022, 08:31:52 pm by arobwk »

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Gardening for Bumble Bees in the UK
« Reply #31 on: January 02, 2022, 10:03:02 pm »
@arobwk, there's a thread called 'Tree Bumble Bees' in the beekeeping thread, posted by me, but it doesn't have a link to an ID site
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow: over-crowded already. You really don't want to live here actually.
Re: Gardening for Bumble Bees in the UK
« Reply #32 on: January 02, 2022, 10:39:12 pm »
@arobwk, there's a thread called 'Tree Bumble Bees' in the beekeeping thread, posted by me, but it doesn't have a link to an ID site

Ta - I almost certainly imagined a link then.  I hope you will find the "bloomsforbees" link I've since posted interesting.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Gardening for Bumble Bees in the UK
« Reply #33 on: January 02, 2022, 11:29:46 pm »
@arobwk, there's a thread called 'Tree Bumble Bees' in the beekeeping thread, posted by me, but it doesn't have a link to an ID site

Ta - I almost certainly imagined a link then.  I hope you will find the "bloomsforbees" link I've since posted interesting.


Another idea someone had before I did - citizen science flowers for BBs  :roflanim: The story of my life  ::)
It's a lovely site and I think I'll get the ID app on my phone - the only other apps I have are to do with star gazing, smart phones being new to me :eyelashes:
It's not identical to our idea though, as they are checking certain specific flowers for bee numbers and species, whereas we are finding all the flowers which are most popular with BBs in our gardens.
I like the voice of the woman doing the ID clip - a good 'don't panic' sort of voice  ;D and clear descriptions.
I would also like ID info for solitary bees such as mason bees - I'm sure we have them but I don't know what they look like, compared to other species.
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Gardening for Bumble Bees in the UK
« Reply #34 on: January 02, 2022, 11:41:41 pm »

I found this interesting article:
urbanpollinators.blogspot.com/2013/12/winter-flowers-for-bees-and-other.html

It points out that in the south of the UK in cities, which tend to be warmer than rural areas, some BBs don't hibernate but continue to forage through the winter, often successfully because of a lack of competition from other pollinators.  It also suggests some flowers to try, especially if you live in the south
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Gardening for Bumble Bees in the UK
« Reply #35 on: January 16, 2022, 01:06:08 pm »
Hello everyone,
It's the middle of the month so what changes have there been in your garden?  Any new flowers out?  Any BB sightings?  If so let us know.


I haven't seen much change but today is beautifully sunny so I shall go to check again.
Actually, I lie, at last there are lots of bulbs just poking their first spears through the ground.  My son's in Hampshire were poking through several weeks ago and the last I heard they were 4" tall.


I have just sent off for a Small leaved Lime, in response to posts on the 'Planting a woodland for bees' thread.  It's a native of further south in the UK than I am, but as Rosemary who is further north than I am has a lime tree I shall give it a go.  I could have spent hundreds of pounds on a large version but instead I've opted for the 8.95 one from The Woodland Trust  :D :tree:


So what is flowering in your garden in mid January, and whereabouts in the country are you?
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: Gardening for Bumble Bees in the UK
« Reply #36 on: January 16, 2022, 02:53:49 pm »
One sad little unopened flower on deadnettle,
But witch hazel looking great, full flower, it's neighbour just about to burst into flower.
No BB's though. Wouldn't expect it round here.
Location, W York's Pennines.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2022, 06:12:52 pm by Penninehillbilly »

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Gardening for Bumble Bees in the UK
« Reply #37 on: January 16, 2022, 05:50:27 pm »
<<< So, January 1st 2022 and what flowers do I have in my garden?:  Red Dead Nettle; Winter Jasmine; a few Roses; Wallflowers; Coloured Primrose; a few tiny Geraniums; Ivy (lots) >>>

That's what I wrote a couple of weeks ago.  Today I found I still have those flowers (except no roses any more) plus the hellebores are in bud but not quite open yet.

As well as sending off for my Tillia, Small Leaved Lime, I have been potting on the shrubs I sent for: @waddy's Sarcococca Confusa x 3; more Forsythia including dwarf version; more Winter jasmine (the original is still flowering its head off, the best it's ever been - must be the manure mulch I gave it last year; buddleia dwarf kind - I have tall ones plus a yellow flowered version which is a total thug but adored by bees and butterflies, but the dwarf ones can go right in a flower bed; a dwarf Juniper for the rock garden because it's blue and I quite like blue conifers, nothing to do with bees really.

Yes, I agree @Penninehillbilly too early for bees, but perhaps down south someone has some  :bee: :bee:


It felt almost spring like today, but an icy wind  :sunshine: :sunshine: :sunshine: :cold:
« Last Edit: January 17, 2022, 12:34:17 pm by Fleecewife »
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

waddy

  • Joined May 2012
Re: Gardening for Bumble Bees in the UK
« Reply #38 on: January 17, 2022, 11:26:33 am »
Gone frosty down here again in South West Somerset. A little bit of ice on water buckets. As well as the Sarcococca, Viburnum bodnantense, and Mahonia, the snowdrops and primroses have started. A few bees will be out if the temperature goes up a bit. A couple of weeks ago it was up around 14 degrees which really shouldn't happen in January. The honeys will be active in the hives and using stores instead of in their winter clusters. After a really early build up in numbers last year due to a warm February and lots of early spring blossom they had to then use up their spring stores due to the bad weather late spring and into summer. We left their honey on and it was all used. We had to feed late Spring. We left the Summer honey on also and supplementary fed late Summer into Autumn. They also have fondant with pollen substitute on to make sure they are allright through the winter. I have never (in eight years of keeping bees) had to feed so much. There has been plenty of blossom, nectar and pollen around; just not necessarily always at the right time and the weather hasn't always helped the bees. Bumbles will have had to contend with this as well. I will be planting more wild flowers this year to help all the polinators; particularly Phacelia to help with the Summer honey flow. They need all the help they can get!


Waddy (Need a bee and a flower emoji!)

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Gardening for Bumble Bees in the UK
« Reply #39 on: January 17, 2022, 12:48:42 pm »
Here we are in our new home in 'Wildlife', thank you Dan  :wave:


@waddy there is a bee emoji - click 'more' under the emoji list above when you are typing and a whole extra list of them pops up  :bee: :bee: :bee: :ladybug: :bfly: :garden:    But you're right we really do need a flower emoji.


Although this thread isn't about honey bees, reading what you have written about caring for your hives this winter made me see that your knowledge will be really helpful to us, as what applies for honey bees must also surely apply to Bumbles.  The main difference I can see is that many Bumbles may be longer tongued and heavier and therefore need flowers like foxgloves and antirrhinums, with bell shaped flowers.  Also Bumbles have no back-up of humans to provide them with extra feed.  Hence our list of what they like and when, to provide continuous pollen and nectar.
Actually as you're here, could you clarify for me please about pollen and nectar.  Is it that pollen is for feeding larvae, whereas nectar is for the adult bees?  Do all flowers provide both or is nectar only the reward supplied by some flowers in return for pollinating their species?
« Last Edit: January 17, 2022, 12:50:39 pm by Fleecewife »
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

waddy

  • Joined May 2012
Re: Gardening for Bumble Bees in the UK
« Reply #40 on: January 17, 2022, 02:14:34 pm »
Hi Fleecewife. The more you learn about bees, the more you realise you don't know and the bees will still surprise you!
Wind pollinated plants including nearly all conifers and many broadleaved trees such as oak, hazel and birch don't need to produce scent to attract pollinators hence no nectar. The bees will however use the protein in the pollen to make "bee bread" to feed their larvae and themselves. They shouldn't need as much pollen during winter as the colder temperatures mostly make them hibernate and they should fewer bees and no brood to feed. Flowers needing pollinators have evolved to attract the pollinators producing nectar to give them an energy source and helping them find the nectaries with uv landing strips. Some are specialist. Honey bees tongues are not long enough to reach the nectaries of primroses but bumbles can. If there are plenty of spring wildflowers, hedgerows, woodlands and orchards, plus early flowering shrubs and other plants in gardens there will be plenty of early forage for pollinators. We have a very large wild cherry in our orchard and the hum coming from all types of bees when in flower is one of life's great joys. Likewise the sight of all the hedgerow flowers and bluebells in the woods. The problem comes when these finish flowering (and if the weather stops the bees getting out). Because most fields are now a monocrop, whether grass or other crops (and usually sprayed with nasty stuff) there is a great lack of flowers in early Summer and bees can starve. Blackberries are great but the flowers come a bit later. We plant lots of Salvias, Lavender, wild Geraniums and anything with simple flowers the bees can get at. Dandelions are wonderful. It is important for the pollinators to have a clean water source. Putting in a pond with a shallow area for them to drink is perfect but it can be a bird bath. If the weather has been very dry the plants won't produce much nectar which can add to the problems faced. This year I am really going to try and boost the wild flowers in our orchard. I will be oversowing with red clover and putting in plugs of various wild and cultivated plants. We have a section we can leave unmown where the grass isn't as strong (yellowrattle will help). Just hoping when the birds are allowed back loose they won't eat everything I plant! Dandelions only survive in areas the birds don't go. Maybe need to do some fencing.


 :thumbsup:

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Gardening for Bumble Bees in the UK
« Reply #41 on: January 19, 2022, 05:31:20 pm »
Thank you for all that @waddy it is really helpful.


A question:  I have heard both answers to this question.  If you have an orchard you can plant lots of flowers under the trees to attract bumble and honey bees, hoverflies, wasps and all the other pollinators needed to get a good crop.  But does this work?  Do bees collect pollen from a wide variety of flowers, or do they go for one type at a time?  If the latter, then by attracting them to flowers you might be distracting them from the fruit blossom.  Any opinions?
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Gardening for Bumble Bees in the UK
« Reply #42 on: January 19, 2022, 05:34:28 pm »
Jan 19th 2022, Southern Scotland, 1,000'
My first new flowers this year have come out today: Snowdrops and aconites - a couple of each.
No bees :bee: .


Would bees feed from these 2 flowers if they were around?


TAMOQ: Yes they would  :thumbsup:  Both snowdrops and aconites provide both pollen and nectar for pollinators  :bee: :bee: :bee:
« Last Edit: January 19, 2022, 11:20:30 pm by Fleecewife »
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

waddy

  • Joined May 2012
Re: Gardening for Bumble Bees in the UK
« Reply #43 on: January 19, 2022, 05:55:18 pm »
Honeys will scout widely for good new nectar sources and then communicate with the hive. The bees will tend to work the best nectar producing plant as a group and then move on to the next best area. They will revisit the first plants when they have had enough time to recharge their nectaries (not long if there has been a shower). If you go for a walk in the woods in the autumn listen out for a hum high up in the canopy. It will be bees working a patch of ivy flowers (very late flowering so very important) for the nectar and pollen. The next day they will move onto the next patch of trees. I get great pleasure following the hum and just standing and listening. Not all nectar sources are from flowers. Laurel (horribly invasive and poisonous) as well as having flowers the bees love; later produces nectar from nectaries under the leaves. Don't know why. Your lime trees are known for being the source of a very strong and good honey produced from the honeydew made by aphids feeding on the tree sap. There was a smarty factory with nearby bees that produced blue honey! Not exactly very appetising but bertainly a notice for the factory not to pollute the surrounding area with chemicals!


 :thumbsup: Helen

waddy

  • Joined May 2012
Re: Gardening for Bumble Bees in the UK
« Reply #44 on: January 19, 2022, 06:01:18 pm »
Friut blossom is such a good and plentyfull nectar source it is very high in the list of plants preferred by the bees. If you have lots of blossom, the pollinators will find it.


 :bee: :bee: :bee:

 

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