Wasps and bumblebees

Wasps are important to the environment and ecosystem. They are hunters and scavengers, also pollinators. If you find a wasp nest that is out of the way and not causing trouble, why destroy it? The nest will die out by itself at the end of autumn, and the queens produced at the end of the season will find a suitable place to hibernate and hope to establish herself in a new location the following year. A bit more information on wasps here.

 

Bumblebees are among the most loved and familiar of garden insects. The sight and sound of them buzzing from flower to flower is a quintessential part of British summertime but sadly these charismatic creatures are struggling to survive. In our modern world of paved gardens and intensive agriculture our bumblebees finding themselves hungry and homeless. There are  24 bumblebee species in the UK and there are plans to reintroduce the Short-haired bumblebee. Unfortunately two UK species have become extinct in the last 80 years and others have declined dramatically.

Bumblebees are larger and hairier than their cousins, the honey bee, which makes them perfectly suited for colder climates. Their extra insulation allows them to venture out on cold days when honeybees stay tucked up inside. But bumblebee nests are small and they do not store large quantities of honey, so they are more sensitive to the availability of pollen and nectar-rich flowers to feed on.

Bumblebees do not swarm and are not aggressive. Only female bumblebees can sting and they will only do so if they feel very threatened.

Similar to the wasps towards the end of the bumblebees nest cycle they will produce a number of queen bees that will go on to establish a new nest site, or if close to the end of the year look for a suitable place to hibernate overwinter and emerge on a nice spring day to start the cycle over once again.

More information on bumblebees here at the Bumblebee Conservation Trust 

 

There are many other species of bees, including over 240 different species of solitary bees in the UK, which are valuable to the ecosystem and also need protection. Please don’t destroy insects just because they are stripey and look as though they may sting.  A bit of information on solitary bees here.

 

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