A couple of days ago I saw my very first male Hairy Footed Flower Bee of this year.. and actually the first in this garden. Last year I bought some pulmonaria, one of the HFFB’s favourite flowers.This year it struggled into bloom and sure enough here comes this very lovely little bee, darting in with his characteristic flight and unmistakable high pitched buzz. This evening he was back and I rushed to get my camera and luckily was able to get a couple of shots. It was 5.30 pm. You can see his handsome white moustache and in the second shot his white face.
I wonder if the colony in the strawberry pot survived the winter and I look forward to seeing the smart females, all black with ginger legs, whose flight is so purposeful and who look like little black bombs as they zigzag from flower to flower.
Paint a Bee Workshop for the BBKA
Last weekend I was at Harper Adams Agricultural University for the British Beekeepers Association annual conference. It’s a huge event with lectures and demos and teaching. I was there to give 2 “Paint a Bee “workshops. Bees are really not the easiest things to paint, and it was wonderful to have 2 fully subscribed classes. Thanks to all who came and made the day so enjoyable.
I talked to many beekeepers, some with just one or two hives and some with hundreds. It was fascinating to hear about their experiences successes and failures. They are a welcoming and inclusive bunch of people. We are lucky to have them. How well the bees came through this bad winter is not yet known. I think many of them are just keeping everything crossed!
Here in the Empty Garden I have not yet seen a honey bee but I am pleased to report lots of big Bombus terrestris queens. Today I also saw a beautiful Bombus pratorum queen and the funny little bee fly. The colours of the new queens are so vivid.
At the weekend though I found a sad and bedraggled bee struggling to keep going. She was just about moving but a long way from any food. It had been raining and was very windy which must be tough conditions for bees. The only thing I had in bloom then was a patch of winter heather and that’s where I put her, after warming her up on my hand. Bees are often reluctant to leave a safe warm hand but she had to go and get some fuel. It was nice to watch her finding food and eventually being able to fly away. I wish her well.
There is definitely a bit of an Ahhhh factor to this photo!
I hope all your bees are beginning to buzz wherever you are.