Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Further Bombinations

Yesterday's Bombylius Major having proved a surprise hit, let's hear it today for the genus Bombus - the doughty bumble bees. Bumble bees, as this makes abundantly clear, are in crisis. What I did not know, until I caught a report on the radio very early this morning, was that bumble bee enthusiasts are combing the field margins and 'setaside' land of England in search of the buzzy tribe in all its threatened variety. They have even trained dogs to sniff out the bumble bees. A keen young lady, working a likely habitat with a sniffer dog called Toby, remarked: 'His whole life revolves around bumble bees.' Things like this make you glad to be alive ('Oh I wouldn't go that far' - S. Beckett) and in England and listening to Radio 4 in the very early morning...

1 comment:

  1. Nige, our bee population has been reduced to the merest handfull, on our land they build hives in the ground, mainly in the remnants of the base of an old dry stone wall, now grass covered, every year they build, hobbit like, their hives, every year along comes Mr & Mrs Badger, napkins on, spoons at the ready, dig away at the grass and stones, bye bye bees.
    However, as the bee population decreases so the wasps and hoverflys increase. The hoverflys compete with the butterflies on the Buddleia flowers (10 years ago we planted many of these to attract butterflies). The wood wasp population has remained constant, they are attracted by pine resin, I normally fell trees in July and August, and often have wood wasps for company. Viscous looking things, but harmless, I hope. they appear to be larger that wrens.
    They all pale into insignificance, however, compared with the mighty midge, about 130 different types, only the female bites ! hmmmmm.