Cheshire LifeJuly 2020
As the days are long and warm, our gardens, green spaces and the countryside beyond are changing fast. The white froth of the hedgerow bramble and fruit tree blossom are fading as the first small green fruits appear. Hedge parsley and oxeye daisies are bursting into bloom and there is a constant buzz along the lanes as insects are busy getting their fill.
Honey bees, tree bumblebees, white-tailed and red-tailed bumblebees are feasting on the abundant flowers of hedgerows, verges, heathland, farmland and woodland edges as well as making frequent visits to our gardens – what joy.
The honey bees and bumblebees are the chubby stripy garden visitors which we’re most familiar with. However, here in the UK, there are around 270 species of bees, most of which are solitary. Many, like the mining bee, build their nests underground, others prefer aerial locations where they often seal their nests with a salivalike substance, mud, chewed leaves, resin or sections of leaves, which they cut with their jaws.
Unfortunately, the story of the bee over the past century has been one of dramatic decline, even leading to some species becoming extinct. This decline is due largely to the way we manage our countryside. The demands on our agricultural industry for cheap food in larger quantities has led to fewer flowering plants that bees and other pollinators feed on.
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