I thought we’d kick off the challenge by telling you about the bees that visit our garden and possibly your own.
We are on the South Downs and have rather chalky soil, combine with the fact that our houses were built on the site of an old builders yard, this makes gardening tricky and an arduous task, should you have to dig into the ground at all. Thankfully the garden was well established and although I have put my own mark on it with smaller plants, new bulbs and new roses, there are some nature loving shrubs that were here originally when we arrived.
One is the cotoneaster and the other is a skimmia. Both of which the bees love. The honey bees go for the skimmia and the bumblebees prefer the contoneaster.
I’ve managed to get a few photos of the bees that have visited so far this year, apologies if they’re a bit fuzzy but the bees are a bit buzzy. I’ve tried to identify them with the use of my handy Collins Complete British Insects.
Bombus refers to the genus or family name for bumblebees. For honeybees this is Apis. Bombus Humilis normally nests in the ground and prefers coastal, chalk and limestone grassland; that’s us. Jonellus is found on heathland of which there is a fair amount around us where we live. Monticola is a long-haired species of British bumblebee and is normally found on bilberry moor, which I don’t think we have any of, but I can’t see what else this little fella could be. Finally, Magnus, likes upland, which we definitely have.
I have tried to identify them to the best of my knowledge, which is of course limited. If you happen to know the names of these bees, and they are not as I thought, please let me know in the comments below. After all, every day’s a school day right?
There are also bees in a bee box we have for mason bees to stop them digging into the walls of our house and they were here again this year.
With the cotoneaster, skimmia and bee box all in close proximity of one another, if you stand on the tiny bit of concrete in our garden, that I affectionately call the patio, you are surrounded my the hum of these little insects coming and going. It’s one of the things I love most about summer and the return of the honeybees to the skimmia, herald’s the arrival of spring.
I’d love to know what bees visit your garden, so don’t forget to let us know in the comments below. Happy bee spotting!