I sat out on the patio for morning coffee this morning (we've had TWO days without rain! Cor!)
It wasn't quite warm enough to sit for long, but the length of time to drink a coffee was OK.
And today, there on my patio was the most enormous, very hairy completely brown bumblebee.
He/she was very polite, came to say hello, bumbled around the open French Doors - and flew away when I tactfully suggested that it was not a good idea to think about flying indoors.
What said bee will find to feed on I don't know - do they get nectar from snowdrops, primroses and crocuses (Hmm, plural of crocus 0- is it crocusi? :-)
"A bumblebee is any member of the bee genus Bombus, in the family Apidae. There are over 250 known species, existing primarily in the Northern Hemisphere although they also occur in South America. They have been introduced to New Zealand and the Australian state of Tasmania.
Bumblebees are social insects that are characterised by black and yellow body hairs, often in bands. However, some species have orange or red on their bodies, or may be entirely black. Another obvious (but not unique) characteristic is the soft nature of the hair (long, branched setae), called pile, that covers their entire body, making them appear and feel fuzzy. They are best distinguished from similarly large, fuzzy bees by the form of the female hind leg, which is modified to form a corbicula: a shiny concave surface that is bare, but surrounded by a fringe of hairs used to transport pollen (in similar bees, the hind leg is completely hairy, and pollen grains are wedged into the hairs for transport).
Like their relatives the honey bees, bumblebees feed on nectar and gather pollen to feed their young"
Important Facts To Know About Bumble Bees.
- Because they live in small nests bumble bees never swarm - so you can encourage a nest or two in the garden without fear of this happening.
- Bumble bees do not produce enough honey for commercial use, just a few grams at a time to feed their young
- Not all bumble bees have a sting. Drones (smaller male bees that hatch in mid summer ) have no sting at all.
- A bumble bees biggest enemy by far is a man armed with a pesticide spray. Like every other form of wildlife they are under serious threat from the chemicals we pour on the land.
- Bumble bees are much less aggressive than honey bees. Generally they will not attack a human at all, unless their life is under threat. Don't wave your arms wildly in their presence, stand quietly and once they smell you are not a flower with pollen they will move gently away.
- Bumble bees do not lose their sting and die if they use it, as a honey bee will.
- Encourage the bumble bee in your garden or farm and she will repay your kindness by pollinating your flowers, fruit and vegetables and giving you an excellent set on your blossom.