Buff-tailed Bumble Bees, Bombus terrestris - workers active 3rd December

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Anonymous (not verified)
Buff-tailed Bumble Bees, Bombus terrestris - workers active 3rd December

At least 2 Buff-tailed Bumble Bees, Bombus terrestris - (workers) seen in my garden today 3rd December, foraging on a blooming heather. - Not a cold day but no sun. postcode BR4 0HW (SE London-Kent) - Id confirmed from my photos by Josh Nelson on Facebook.

colonus
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Last seen: 2 years 1 week ago
Joined: 02/04/2013 - 20:34
Winter bumblebees

Hallo Howard

It has been known for about a dozen years that during a mild autumn and winter B.terrestris queens and workers can be seen throughout the winter in the south of the country. A few late summer colonies survive into the late autumn or early winter. In addition quite a number of B.terrestris queens emerge from hibernation in late autumn and then try to establish a new nest. Queens have been emerging during November and early December. A few have already started to collect pollen and search for nest sites. If the mild weather continues workers from these new colonies will be seen from late December onwards. They are totally dependent on garden flowers and are likely to be seen on Mahonias, winter heathers, winter flowering prunus, shrubby honeysuckle (Lonicera), Clematis cirrhossa, early rhododendron, etc. The urban heat island effect of Greater London means that you are well placed to see winter bumblebees.

Today at Farnham in Surrey I saw 1 B.terrestris worker collecting pollen and nectar on Mahonia and another worker nectaring on Viburnum tinus. In NE Hampshire there were 2 queens on Lonicera fragrantissima and 1 queen on Prunus subhirtella.

SteveF
21:15 Friday 04 Dec 2015
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