Spring is definitely on the way, you can hear it!
Not just the sound track of the birds establishing territories but also the friendly hum of Bumblebees.
This time of year it is the queens that you will hear as they emerge from hibernation to start a new colony. They wake up hungry and thirsty and therefore it is vital that they find early flowers to feed on. The newly emerged queens eat both nectar and pollen. It is actually the pollen that helps her ovaries develop in preparation for all the worker bees she will give birth to. She continues feeding and sheltering at night near the food plants until her body signals her that it is time to find a nest site.
Nests can be underground in disused rodent holes, under sheds or compost heaps. The Tree Bumblebee(Bombus hypnorum)shown in the picture prefers to nest higher up in hollow trees, bird boxes or maybe a house loft. This species is relatively new to the UK, it has been steadily spreading from the European continent and parts of Asia since the start of the 21st century. These Bumblebees prefer habitats that others do not, allowing them to pollinate flowers in areas that many other species do not get to. This has helped with their growing establishment and success.