We were thrilled to host Bumblebee Conservation Trust and Plantlife for a fascinating two day Open Farm Event at Sheepdrove.
There were fascinating talks on bumblebee identification, monitoring and ecology and how to create pollinator positive habitats. We learned about Bee Steward, a computer software tool designed to help farmers and land managers to understand how pollinator friendly management can impact pollination and bee survival.
The weather held and the sun even shone occasionally for the field tours and we set off with a lively collection of farmers, land managers, wildlife volunteers, gardeners and nature lovers around the lake, along species rich grassland and through the ancient woodland with our guides collecting bee sand other pollinators for us to identify and plant team advising on best habitats for pollinators in the wild, on the farm and in gardens.
The critical importance of floral resource continuity was the big takeaway, both for land managers and gardeners. Bumblebees need habitat providing continuity and diversity of flowers from March until October so that there is a good supply of pollen at all of the crucial times, when queens are nesting, when the nest is growing and when new queens are fattening up ready for hibernation.
Highlights out in the field were spotting Moschatel (also know as Town Hall Clock) in Nut Wood and the Large Garden or Ruder bumblebee (Bombus ruderatus) on the chalk bank meadow above the lake.
BeeWalk is a national recording scheme run by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust to monitor the abundance of bumblebees on transects across the country. These transects would be impossible without volunteers, who identify and count the bumblebees they see on a monthly walk along a set route from March to October.
Anyone can become a BeeWalker – all you need is some basic identification knowledge and a spare few hours or so every month to walk a fixed route of about a mile (you choose where it goes), and submit your sightings.
Would you be interesting in becoming a BeeWalker? Get in touch with https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/beewalk/