Bumbles in my borders


A couple of summers ago we took out a length of hedge between our back garden and the field. It was a thicket of alien snowberry and overgrown ash tree seedlings, and a nightmare to cut. Now we have a simple fence, a rampant herb and wildflower garden that grows itself, and a view.Ā  We also have masses of bees.

Back in the spring they foraged on the columbines; later on the spires of self-seeded purple toadflax and foxgloves. Now they are gorging on oregano and bramble blossom. I spotted at least three varieties of bumble bee this afternoon, but apart from the red-tailed bumble below, Iā€™m having problems identifying them. For those of you who wish to try, there is an excellent identification page with a video at bumblebeeconservation.org





copyright 2015 Tish Farrell

Close Up

38 thoughts on “Bumbles in my borders

  1. Once again fabulous photographs. It would appear that you are really enjoying your new camera and making such good use of it. Great to see bees devouring pollen – such a positive sight. Thank you. Janet

  2. I love the way you meet challenges without appearing to do so. This was about bees, not closeups, till I’d read and viewed it with delight. I’m hoping we find bees waiting for the garden when we finally get back home. Three varieties – it sounds like heaven. And they’re wonderful shots.

    1. Thank you, Meg. I’m wishing you bees in your garden (and not in your bonnet) on your return, which is when exactly? I’ve lost track of your itinerary, though was in the middle of reading your lovely memoir piece on walks. I was interrupted and must get back there.

    1. The bumble site is fascinating in as much as I discovered that even when you think you’ve identified one, there are worker, male and queen variations, and then variations within the variations. We seem to have 7 common sorts in the UK, and then all their permuations on top. So like you, I’m just looking, and enjoying their existence.

      1. In summer we usually have lots and lots of bumbles in the garden. I may make more effort to identify this summer. I haven’t actually listened to this particular interview yet but I believe it mentions an unsuccessful attempt that was made a few years ago to send NZ bumblebees back to the UK to help avert extinction of the short-haired bumble in the UK. http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/saturday/audio/201757333/dave-goulson-bumblebees-and-flowers.

      2. This is v. interesting, Ann – the repatriation of bees. There’s a great photo, too, at this link. Am impressed I can listen to a NZ radio prog here in Shropshire. Thank you šŸ™‚

  3. Tish, thanks for the beauty to start my day and the joy of knowing that bees are flourishing at least some places. We have a butterfly bush in our yard, just coming into bloom, and it’s such a joy to see butterflies, bees, and other insects on the blossoms!


  4. Lovely photos Tish, I love the last one and the peep through to the field (or paddock as we call it in Australia and NZ) Incidentally I thought a bumble bee was a bumble bee I never knew there was species of them…

    1. There seem to be loads of species, Pauline. In the UK there are 7 ‘common’ ones apparently, and then others. It’s only recently that I’ve noticed any differences. Just goes to show, one goes around with one’s eyes out of focus much of the time.

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