Bumblebee blog

Here you will find informal updates on our projects, top tips from our staff and volunteers on how to support bumblebees and interesting guest articles from our partners. Use the category buttons to filter the blog articles by topic.

Bees find a helping hand on my allotment

by Katy Malone, Bumblebee Conservation Trust Conservation Officer for Scotland

Being a fully paid-up member of the bumblebee fan club, no-one will be surprised to learn that when I finally got offered an allotment in my village three years ago, I set out to make it as bee-friendly as possible. After all, growing veg and attracting crop pollinators with nectar and pollen-rich flowers – well, it’s just a no-brainer. Read More

Croyde and Georgeham residents create a ‘buzz’ in Devon

by Jasmine Bennett from the Pickwell Foundation.

The Pickwell Foundation, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and the North Devon National Trust came together to facilitate the sowing of wildflower seeds on Easter Saturday.

With over 80 residents turning up to help between the two sites, participants learnt about the importance of wild bees, how they differentiate from honey bees, and about the issues faced by our wonderful wild pollinators.
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A brief guide to bee nest boxes

Bex Cartwright, our Making a Buzz for the Coast Conservation Officer, has written this handy guide on how to create or choose a suitable bee box to make a perfect home for solitary bees in your garden! Read More

Bringing the buzz back into our towns and cities

This guest blog post has been written by Charlotte Rankin, one of the Trust’s volunteers. Based in Cornwall, Charlotte has been actively involved in getting the small Cornish town of Penryn buzzing! Read her story here on how small changes have made a big impact to bumblebees and the community…

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Wildflowers for bees: a beginner’s guide to sowing wildflower seed in spring

This informative blog is written by The Grass People.

Bumblebees are iconic, charismatic and captivating insects that play a vital role in the lives of us all by pollinating our crops and many of our native wildflower species. However, since the 1930’s we have lost 97% of our flower-rich meadows – leaving bumblebee’s hungry and homeless…

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Beeware! ‘Bee-friendly’ garden plants can contain bee-harming chemicals

by Katy Malone, Conservation Officer (Scotland)

It’s early spring here in the Highlands. Despite the continuing flurries of snow, snowdrops have pushed their way out of the iron-hard soil and are waiting for those early rays of sunshine to allow them to open up into their classic nodding shape. I was thrilled to hear my first song thrush of the year this morning – he must know that spring is waiting around the corner and was warming up his fine voice. I love to walk around the garden at this time of year to see the first leaves breaking, the first flowers, and of course, the first bumblebees!

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Feeding the bees in winter

This is a guest article written by Peter Lawrence, a Trust member and keen gardener. Here, Peter gives us a run-down of his best plants for bumblebees in winter. As Peter points out, bumblebees are becoming increasingly active in the winter months when they would normally be hibernating. If you spot a bumblebee this winter, you can report it to BWARS for their special survey on winter-active bumblebees.

“I don’t know about you but every time I see a bumblebee my morale takes a little leap upwards before it starts to sink again. They are wonderful beasts.

We have a large garden and I try to grow nectar-rich flowers all the year round. I thought my information might help others with ideas for flowers that the bumblebees evidently like, particularly during the harsh winter months. I know they are supposed to be underground in the winter, but the winters are getting shorter and I see bumblebees every month of the year in my garden, near Cambridge, on alkaline soil.

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Are allotments really bee-friendly? A Guest blog from Emma Nelson

Emma Nelson joined BBCT as a volunteer earlier this year, and writes and gardens as a hobby. She wrote this article as an appeal to her local Allotments Association, to highlight how, despite providing an amazing food supply for pollinators for much of the year, gardens and plots can fail to sustain bumblebees at crucial points in their lifecycle.

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Controlling garden pests without pesticides

With so much concern around the use of pesticides in agriculture, it’s easy to forget that pesticides are regularly used in gardens. Pretty much anything designed to kill insects or ‘bugs’ can also kill bees, butterflies, ladybirds and whole range of insects that people like to see. So what’s the alternative for gardeners who want to control the pests that chomp their plants?

Before I go on, I should state that I am using the word ‘pest’ to refer to any animal that can do a lot of damage to garden plants. I certainly wouldn’t like to see aphids or sawflies wiped out, but I do like to control the damage they inflict to plants I’m growing.

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Fruit trees and bees

This month’s guest article comes from Catherine, a gardener at Chenies Manor in Buckinghamshire. Read on to see her advice on making orchards better for bees…

If I had a large garden my dream would be to plant an orchard full of unusual old varieties of apples and other fruit trees. There are hundreds of local heritage varieties with different flavours, but sadly most are rarely available in supermarkets or greengrocers, so I would love to grow some of these in a wildlife-friendly way. As well as producing spring pollen and nectar for bumblebees and other pollinators, fruit trees also provide a useful habitat and food source for a wide range of wildlife.

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