Archive for the 'Bees' Category

2nd June 2012, Saturday

What to do today?

Come down to RSPB Dungeness and join in our Bee Fest activities, that’s what! In the comfort of the Visitor Centre you can make a cosy bee house, have fun at our craft table and visit our bee market where we’re selling a wide range of bee goodies – everything from hand-knitted bees and honey to hand lenses and id guides for the serious bee watcher. Outside you can follow our bee trail and enter our priize draw or even do a spot of pond-dipping! Activities start at 11 am on Saturday and Sunday and continue throughout the week – take a look at the events pages for full details.

28th May 2012, Monday

Back at last

Back in 2008 we started planning the return of the short-haired bumblebee Bombus subterraneus, a species last seen in the UK at Dungeness in 1988 and declared extinct in 2000.  We have searched every year for this insect since the late 1990s and considerable effort has been devoted to restoring legume-rich pasture, first at the RSPB reserve, and then across Romney Marsh.  Initially plans to bring back New Zealand bees, descended from British insects, failed because the insect was difficult to breed in captivity and also very inbred.  However the project was thrown a lifeline by Swedish entomologists who reported the healthiest population of this insect in Europe.  Otherwise it is highly endangered across the continent due to loss of wild flower-rich pastures.

So, today 51 Swedish females were released on the RSPB reserve at Dungeness.Bombus subterraneus 

This was one of the first specimens I

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7th March 2011, Monday

An early Bombus hypnorum

Today at Bellhurst Wood beside Hobbs Lane, Beckley, a queen Bombus hypnorum, the so-called Tree Bumblebee, was basking on a tree trunk, kindly identified for me by Brian Banks who was visiting the wood. Stuart Roberts, chairman of the Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society, has commented that this is only the fourth UK occurrence reported to the society in 2011.

This species has spread very quickly since the first UK record in Hampshire in 2001 – see for a description, photos and an up-to-date map. A search on ‘hypnorum’ on the rxwildlife site brings up several previous local reports and photos.

26th February 2011, Saturday


More signs of spring.  Over the past two days I have buff tailed bumblebee Bombus terrestris and the early nesting bumblebee B. pratorum foraging on shrubs in our garden in Northiam.