A Bombus hypnorum worker was seen on 30 and 31 Dec 2015 at Yateley, Hampshire. This is the first time that I have been aware of evidence of a winter nest of B.hypnorum in the UK.
The autumn and early winter have been exceptionally mild and I have seen bumblebees on 58 out of the last 62 days.
On 30 Nov I saw a B.hypnorum queen collecting pollen and nectar on Lonicera fragrantissima on three separate occasions during the day at Yateley, Hants. On the next day, 01 Dec and on 03 Dec she was again seen collecting pollen.
On 16 Dec a B.hypnorum queen was seen nectaring on Mahonia x media in the Valley Gardens at Windsor Great Park. This equals the latest date in the year on which I have seen a B.hypnorum queen. (There was a queen nectaring on Rhododendron pachysanthum on 16 Dec 2014 in the Valley Gardens).
Wednesday 30 December was overcast and very windy but fairly mild, in the wake of the winter depression named "Storm Frank". In spite of the poor weather conditions there were a few Bombus terrestris active. My wife thought she had seen a Bombus hypnorum worker during the morning. Early in the afternoon (at 14:05) I had a clear view of a B.hypnorum worker collecting pollen and nectar for a couple of minutes. A few minutes later (at 14:15) I saw it again for a couple of minutes. I was able to identify and confirm that this was a B.hypnorum worker. The weather was poor and the branches of the Lonicera bush were blowing around and there were a few spots of rain in the wind.
On the next day, Thursday 31 December, the morning was mostly clear and sunny, breezy and fairly mild. There was more cloud in the afternoon. The B.hypnorum worker was seen again at 13:50 when it was nectaring on the Lonicera again for 10 minutes continuously. A few minutes later (at 14:05) it returned for a second shorter visit of about 2 minutes.
Yesterday was rather cold and overcast with rain from mid-afternoon. Today has been overcast and very wet. In spite of this B.terrestris workers were seen yesterday and queens have been seen on both days. However the B.hypnorum worker has not been seen again.
I would be interested to know if any other members have seen B.hypnorum queens collecting pollen this autumn and if there have been any other reports of B.hypnorum workers.
16:55 Saturday 02 January 2016.