Winter foraging queen bumblebee. B. terrestris

After seeing B. terrestris workers foraging on Mahonia japonica in Liverpool in Jan 2016, I have kept a lookout ever since for winter activities in the North West.

B. terrestris queen foraging on Mahonia 30:11:17

Whilst out collecting natural materials for a Christmas wreath making session I am giving shortly, a couple walked by and we started talking about birds and berries. During the conversation, I told them that in some areas queen bumblebees were active during the winter. 5 feet away was a flowering Mahonia shrub. I pointed it out to them, telling them it was sustaining some queen bumblebees and was partially responsible for them establishing winter nests, particularly down south. Out of the blue, a queen bumblebee arrived and started foraging right in front of us! I said I wanted to film her for my website, handed my secateurs to the lady and dashed over, stumbling through border vegetation to do so. I heard a very faint “No, you’re not going to film me!” and off she flew. Well, I did, but briefly!!

This is exciting for me now that I know I may see more winter bee activity locally, I plan to seek out more specimens of Mahonia to loiter around!

Bombus terrestris description and information 

If you see one yourself record it online here

Winter bumblebees project More information

Download BWARS Bumblebee Activity info sheet

Winter active bumblebees   by the  Bumblebee Conservation Trust

More pollinators information and Citizen Science Project see The Buzz Club

Blooms for Bees “Winter -active Bees”



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