February; a month of two halves

Snow at the start of the month melted to reveal crocuses beneath, and glorious warm, sunny days at the end saw early-flowering fruit trees erupt in blossom.

Honeybees were locked down in their snow-topped hives early on. One big family, eating honey to stay alive and shivering close together to keep their home a toasty 35 C. Bumblebee queens were for the most part staying in small holes beneath ground keeping warm, or yet to wake-up from their winter inertia. Once the crocuses and snowdrops appeared and the temperature rose, buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) queens were spotted supping on nectar.

With the unseasonably warm end to month, some cherry and plum trees blossomed early leading to sightings of bees usually not yet out. The tree-bumblebee, (Bombus hypnorum) the brown, male hairy-footed flower bee, (Anthophora plumipes) the early bumblebee (Bombus pratorum) and even the male red mason bee (Osmia bicornus) were all spotted as they emerged to take advantage of the early banquet of nectar and pollen.

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