Meet your wild neighbour: the garden bumblebee!

Your wild neighbour, the garden bumblebee!

A fuzzy little body with yellow and black stripes...

The garden bumblebee is a beautiful and welcome resident of our wild spaces!

These tireless pollinators are crucial to the lives of many others; they pollinate the flowers, trees and grasses that other wildlife rely on, as well as our food too.

Close your eyes and imagine a bumblebee. You can’t picture them without a fantastic flower to buzz around and neither can they...

Will you record one during the Great Yorkshire Creature Count?

Garden bumblebee (c) Penny Frith

Did you know?

  • They are key pollinators of both fruits, vegetables and wildflowers, including over three-quarters of UK wildflower species!
     
  • They are vital to the UK economy – it would cost UK farmers £1.8 billion to hand-pollinate crops in the absence of bees!
     
  • Garden bumblebees are black with three yellow bands and a white tail

Where to spot them

As a general rule of thumb, you can find bumblebees anywhere there are flowers! Have a look in or around any flowers in your wild space to see if you can spot any buzzing around.

You might also spot a solitary bee during your creature counting! They nest in small holes or cavities in walls, so make sure to examine your walls and pavements outside your home!

When to spot them

Bumblebees love the sun as much as the rest of us, so you're mostly likely to see them on a sunny day!

During the Creature Count, peruse your wild space with your morning coffee or afternoon cuppa to see if you can spot any bees buzzing around.

 

Attracting bumblebees to your wild patch

Encourage bumblebees into your wild space with our following top tips!

You can attract bees with any sort of wild space, be that window box, yard or garden! Simply plant a range of bee-friendly flowers - it's best to plant a range of different flower shapes to suit all shapes and sizes of bee. If you've not got much space, consider climbing plants like honeysuckle up a wall - or turn part of a lawn into a wildflower meadow!

2) Food and drink throughout the year

Bees need nectar to feed on from early spring right through to the autumn. Make sure early and late bees don't suffer with plants that flower early and late in the year, as well as during the spring and summer months! We often forget that bees need water too, so leaving out a container or bird bath is useful.

3) Avoid pesticides

Rely on natural predators like hedgehogs and ladybirds to keep pests at bay! Bees will help to pollinate any fruit or veg you're trying to grow, so make their welcome as delicious as possible!

Fuzz and buzz...

Commuting from the blossom of a wild cherry to the bells of a foxglove these little insects are hard working heroes. But bumblebees and their essential role in our ecosystem is at risk of being lost.

Pollinating insects, including bees, are suffering in the UK.

Over the last 60 years, farming has intensified and the use of pesticides and fertilisers has soared. Our country hedgerows have vanished, 97% of our wild flower meadows have disappeared since the 1930s and gardens have become more and more manicured.

For bees, this is disastrous. They rely on varied and abundant nectar rich plants, which are becoming ever more scarce.

In the 20th century, two UK bee species became extinct and eight others are currently extremely threatened.