As the weather warms up, some of the first bees to visit our gardens are the large and familiar bumblebees.
The queens are waking up from their long solitary hibernation and are scouring the ground for ideal locations to nest, like the vacant nests of voles or other rodents that tunnel underground.
A small bumble bee nest
Read my other article to find out more about where they go in Winter:
Once the queen has found an ideal spot, the newly emerged queen will create small wax cells to fill with pollen and nectar.
Each wax cup becomes home to an egg, fertilised the previous summer and carefully stored by the queen all winter.
The first eggs to be laid by the queen are all female 'workers' bees. As they hatch, they assist with the collection of pollen and nectar to fill in more wax cups created by the busy queen.
Towards late summer, once the colony is fully established, the queen begins to lay male drone eggs and future queens to allow the colony to reproduce.
There are over 250 species of bumble and solitary bees here in the UK, and many are in steep decline due, in part, to the effect of garden and agricultural chemical pest control.
One of the people researching the decline in be populations is Professor Dave Goulson from the University of Sussex, author of several books and founder of Bumblebee Conservation Trust.
You can read more about their research and how you can get involved in their many projects on their website.
Wednesday the 20th of May marks #WorldBeeDay, a United Nations initiative to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators!
Keep an eye out for plenty of bee-related content over the next few days, and join the Candide Garden Club on Tuesday to learn more about gardening for bees.
Have you seen many bees yet? Share your bee photos using the hashtag #WorldBeeDay
Originally published May 2019