I visited the nature reserve this afternoon to look for butterflies. I saw several Scotch Argus and small Whites flying around but, not close enough to photograph them. While I walked passed the willows I noticed two bees disappearing into the long grass. I parted the grass and observed an old rodent burrow. I set my camera on video and waited. I saw several bees flying in and out of the burrow. They were White Tailed Bumblebees (Bombus Lucorum).
These bees are very wide spread in the Scotland. The Queens emerge in the Spring and begin to forage on early flowering plants. Once they are fully nourished they start to search for suitable nest sites ; old rodent burrows, tussocks, cracks and crevices. The workers emerge in late March. The colonies can be up to 400 strong and the nest will last for 1 season. The larva survive over the Winter but, the adults do not. The cycle starts again when the Queens emerge in the Spring.
This is the video I took of the White Tailed Bumblebees leaving and entering the nest.
I found this good website today on the internet. There is good advice on how to make your garden Bee friendly, identification items and Bee conservation.
White tailed Bumblebee foraging in the garden.
I bought a new poetry book today,
Selected poems by John Clare. I particularly love Wild Bees.
“These children of the sun which summer brings
As pastoral minstrels in her merry train
pipe rustic ballads upon busy wings”