A first for Three Owls!

May 18, 2019

Last night after work I was walking on the Home Reserve at Rochdale and heard a loud buzzing. Although the reserve is packed full of insects at this time of year, as both trees and plants are laden with flowers, and the floor itself a carpet of bluebells and wild garlic .... this was somehow different.


Tracing the source of the noise (we are not hosting any hives just now), I eventually came across one of the re-enforced squirrel-proof nestboxes had been taken over by the bees and was very much an active hive. Concerned that the box was way too small to support a colony of honeybees, I immediately contacted our bee-expert Andrew who agreed to come over early the next morning.


Dressed in his full bee-keeping suit, I left him with a ladder to do whatever was needed, but was amazed to find him back in the office within a few minutes - "you can't possibly have finished yet; is there a problem?" I enquired of him.


Clearly excited by the find, Andrew explained (to my embarrassment) that these weren't honey bees, but a much rarer Tree Bumble Bee - which for him was a wonderful find as he hadn't seen ANY so far north before; previously Northampton had been the furthest North for this breed he was aware of. They originally inhabit France, but with the recent warmer climes have hopped across the Channel and are working up the British countryside. Thankfully, they happily share our environment with our native bees and there doesn't seem to be any conflict; with our own bees in decline, the countyside needs all the help it can get with pollination for all our plants, bushes and trees.


Nigel

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