Bumblebees – Friends of Every Gardener

One good turn deserves another and bumblebees are very aware of this proverb. Encourage bumblebees to your garden and they will help to pollinate your plants, resulting in better crops.

Good pollination will improve both the yield and the quality of crops. All bees are great pollinators but our native British bumblebee, Bombus terrestris Audax, is one of the most efficient. They may seem rather ponderous but they’ll be out in all weathers, including rain, damp and wind. By contrast, the honey bee is a bit of a wimp and will stay in the hive during wet weather.

Bumblebee Facts

– They feed on nectar (carbohydrates) and pollen (protein)
– The Queen will hibernate over winter but the rest of colony will die
– Docile and gentle bumblebees are slow to sting. However, unlike honey bees they do not have a barbed stinger and so can sting more than once.
– Bumblebees have 4 wings which beat 130 – 240 times per second. This vibration causes the flowers to release their pollen and this is known as Buzz Pollination.
– Their strong bodies enable the bees can carry up to 75% of their body weight in pollen and nectar
– Bumblebees scent mark flowers they’ve visited so that other bees will know the pollen has gone
– Unlike honey bees these big guys won’t swarm

Give a Bee a Home

To improve pollination in your patch how about setting up your own bumblebee colony? The Dobies Bumblebee Villa comes complete with a colony of a queen, 50-60 workers and eggs. They will travel with a supply of sugar water and pollen so won’t arrive too hungry!

The bees will work hard for you all year and you will reap the benefits in terms of increased crops. Sadly, they die over winter but such is nature. And we can supply you with a replacement colony next spring!

For more information please visit the Bumblebee Conservation Trust