20th June 2013- Bumblebee survey

A hot humid day and another visit from Nikki Gammans to help with our bumblebee recording programme.

Incidentally, for those who are interested in honing their ID skills and finding out a bit more about bumblebees, Nikki will be joining us on the 24th July at 11:15 for a bumblebee walk and talk around the garden. This is being offered on a first come- first served basis, and is free to take part (normal entrance fees apply).

Today’s walk started around 2:15 and conditions were more or less ideal. After spotting quite a few individuals in the front meadow, we headed for the Cotoneaster horizontalis at the front of the house and on the Kitchen Drive, which have been positively alive with insect life.

hypnorum pratorum

Bombus hypnorum and Bombus pratorum

hypnorum on the wing

Bombus hypnorum in flight

In the Prarie we spotted some nice common carder queens Bombus pascuorum feeding on the meadow vetchling and the red clover

impression of a meadow

pascuorum pascuorum 2


Before heading through to the High Garden where we saw various bees including some cheeky individuals robbing nectar from the base of the comfrey flowers.


pratorum on geranium hortorum on the wing

Bombus pratorum males on a geraniums, and Bombus hortorum on comfrey.

pascuorum on nepeta

Bombus pascuorum on catmint in the High Garden

lucorum on viper's bugloss

Bombus lucorum on viper’s bugloss in the Long Border

allium pratorum

Male Bombus pratorum on Allium cristophii in the Long Border


Sarah checking an ID in Pond Orchard meadow- which is only 2 years old

red clover

Red clover- important forage for the long tongued species

lapidarius lapidarius 2

Bombus lapidarius in Pond Orchard meadow. There were very few of these individuals around. Nikki thinks they may just be emerging, but they were enjoying the bird’s foot trefoil here.

new meadow

This field is part of our transect and we hope to turn over to meadow if we can get a grant from Defra’s ELS scheme. The lack of insect life is marked.

nikki in the field

Nikki in the Trials Field.

So this time we spotted 7 species and lots of individuals. A pretty good result. Next time we hope to record a few of the rarities.

Sarah thinks she may have found a Bombus ruderarius – which is a BAP (Biodiversity Action Plan) species in the Blue Garden feeding on lupins. She’s sending Nikki some photos for verification. We’ll keep you updated. Until next month- and don’t forget Nikki’s walk and talk if you’re interested.


About Catherine

I am the Education Officer at Great Dixter and get to do all sorts of fun things for a living..
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One Response to 20th June 2013- Bumblebee survey

  1. Pingback: Butterfly and bumblebee on flower, video | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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