Bumblebee Survey: meet the Queen in your own back garden!

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Monday 2nd April 2012
Pollen basket on Buff-tailed bumblebee©Northeastwildlife

The Bugs in Gardens project is encouraging people in Dumfries and Galloway to take a closer look at the bumblebees in their gardens.

In the recent warm weather queen bumblebees have been emerging from hibernation over the winter. They can easily be seen flying in search of places to make their nests and collecting nectar and pollen from flowers.

The Bugs in Gardens project is asking people to look out for and report six types of bumblebee commonly found in gardens across the region. The project has produced a bumblebee identification and survey card which can be used to identify and record these six bumblebees in your garden.

It is a great time of year to get out and look at the bumblebees in your garden as the bumblebees most often seen at the moment are queens which have spent the winter underground. They are larger and easier to identify than their offspring which appear a little later in the year.

Numbers of bumblebees have been declining across the UK in recent years with two species now extinct and many others under threat from extinction. This decline is thought to be due to changes in the way our countryside has been managed but gardens often provide a brilliant flower rich sanctuary for many of our more common bees.

These declines of bumblebees make it even more important to provide nectar rich flowers in gardens and to record the bumblebees that we see so that changes in their numbers and distribution can be monitored.

The Bugs in Gardens project will be running guided walks in April and May to help with the identification of common garden bumblebees.

The guided walks are a fantastic opportunity to learn about species most commonly seen in gardens. Anyone is welcome to attend these events, you don’t need to have any prior knowledge.

There will be two guided bumblebee identification walks on the 12th April at Logan Botanic Gardens, Port Logan, and another guided walk on the 17th May at Dunskey Gardens, Portpatrick. Normal garden entrance fees apply.

If you find a bumblebee or other invertebrate and you are unsure what it is, the project is encouraging people to send in their photos which staff will try and identify. Photos can be sent via email, post or through the DGERC Facebook page.

To find out more about the guided walks, to report a wildlife sighting, or to request a Bumblebee survey card, please ring 01387 760274 or email bugsingardens@dgerc.org.uk.

The Bugs in Gardens project will run until May 2012 and is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Dumfries and Galloway LEADER Programme, Scottish Natural Heritage, Dumfries and Galloway Council and the Southern Uplands Partnership with contributions from many other groups and individuals.