red-tailed bumblebee
red-tailed bumblebee / Neil Fletcher

Tell us if you have seen a bumblebee

Bumblebees don’t live in hives like the honey bee.

Instead, the queen emerges from hibernation in the spring and starts to make a nest, often below ground and often taking over a disused mouse or vole hole. Gradually she builds up her brood of worker bees over the summer, until there are a few hundred bees all in the same nest, but that’s nothing like the thousands of honey bees in a hive.

At the end of summer new queens will mate and look for a fresh site to spend the winter. The rest of the nest will eventually die, meaning that the new queens are the only bumblebees to survive until the following year.

There are 24 types of bumblebee in the UK.

DID YOU KNOW: bumblebees are extremely important for pollinating wild flowers and many of our food crops, but numbers have drastically declined recently and some species are threatened with extinction. You can help them by making sure there are plenty of nectarrich flowers in your garden throughout the spring and summer.

You can find out more about bumblebees at www.bumblebeeconservation.org