Filed under: Articles — admin @ 2:03 pm on the May 21, 2012
There are almost 250 species of bumblebees across the world, found predominantly, but not exclusively, in the Northern Hemisphere. There are over twenty different species of bumblebees in Britain, but only six species make up the vast majority of sightings in Britain today. These are the
- Common Carder bee
- Red-tailed bumblebee
- Early nesting bumblebee
- Buff-tailed bumblebee
- White-tailed bumblebee
- Small Garden bumblebee
Bumblebees are social bees, meaning that the queen will produce a colony that increases in size, as opposed to solitary bees, who will only lay a few eggs each year in small nests. All bumblebees, apart from the queen, only live from spring to autumn.
The queen will hibernate over winter, usually underground, and emerge in spring to start looking for a place to nest. This could be a small hole underground, perhaps a nest abandoned by a mammal. It will likely be located quite near a good source of pollen and nectar, because this will be needed to feed the colony as it develops.
Once the queen has the nest to her liking, she will build a wax honey pot to fill with pollen and nectar. This will act as her food source while she incubates her eggs. Then she will form a mound of pollen upon which to lay her eggs, covering them with a waxy secretion. The queen will brood over the eggs, using her body heat to keep them warm and incubate them.
The eggs hatch in a few days, and the queen will begin foraging among nearby plants for pollen to feed the larvae until they pupate. Once the pupae emerge as adult bumblebees, they will become worker bees. From then on, the queen will concentrate on laying more eggs, and the workers will forage and help incubate them. In this manner, the colony increases in size over the summer months.
Toward the end of summer, the queen will start laying some unfertilised eggs which will become male bees, and some of the regular fertile eggs will become new queens. When the new queens are mature and ready to mate, the old queen will die. After mating, the males die and the new queens will find a place to hibernate for the winter so they can start the cycle anew the following spring.
Bumblebees have been around for millions of years, but their numbers are declining dramatically. Just within the past several decades, two species have gone extinct in Britain. They are important pollinators of wildflowers and crops, and our world would be a very different place – and far fewer humans would survive – without them. It is in our best interests to help their numbers thrive.
Bumblebees are generally harmless. They can, but usually won’t, sting unless they are provoked or disturbed. However, if they are causing problems near your home, we can help. Because bumblebees are so vitally important to us all, we will try to re-home the bees if at all possible, rather than destroy them.
Filed under: Articles — admin @ 10:11 pm on the March 15, 2012
The common honey bee (Apis mellifera), also known as the European honey bee or the western honey bee, can be distinguished from a wasp by its hairy body. The hairs are used in gathering pollen grains, which are the bees’ only source of protein. If you are unable to tell by their appearance whether you are dealing with honey bees or wasps, however, your local pest control service can advise.
A hive consists of the queen, female worker bees, and male drones. The queen, with a lifespan of three to four years, is the only fertile female in the hive, and lays the eggs from which all the other bees in the hive originate. The bees that you see flying around your garden are female worker bees that have become foragers when they are a few weeks old. Worker bees usually live around six weeks, so the queen is constantly laying new eggs to replenish the hive’s population and workforce.
Worker bees spend their lives doing just that – working. When young, they clean the hive, feed the larvae, and build comb cells for the queen to use to deposit new eggs. When they are a couple of weeks old, worker bees start receiving and storing pollen and nectar from foraging bees. When she is about three weeks old, a worker bee will start leaving the hive every day and become a forager herself. Forager bees can travel up to four miles away from the hive to find food.
Drones do not leave the hive to forage for pollen. They also do not have stingers. They exist to fertise a new queen, and some may assist in temperature regulation of the hive, fanning water droplets brought back inside by foraging bees in order to produce cool airflow by evaporation.
When honeybees enter the hive, they hold their tongue out to show that they’re bringing food in; otherwise they would not be allowed in. Bees will allow bees from another hive to enter the hive as long as they have food, but they will kill them inside the hive and not allow them to leave. Bees are constantly robbing other hives for honey, as honey takes a long time to produce.
Just like us, bees need water to drink, and they also use it to cool the hives. That is why you may sometimes see bees around outdoor water taps and garden hoses. If you have a problem with bees around leaky water taps or hoses, repairing the leaks, rather than trying to kill the bees, may be the solution.
Filed under: Articles — admin @ 11:31 am on the May 28, 2010
We really are a nation of wingers, all winter long we have being saying “it’s freezing, I hate the rain and snow” so last weekend the sun decided to shine and what did we say “It’s too warm, wish it was a bit cooler”. On a serious note with the sun starting to heat up it can only mean one thing – the start of summer and the onslaught of insects that slide, bite, sting and annoy us.
During the summer season we all love to have that family BBQ. As the BBQ is lit and the drinks are poured it’s not long till we start to see the flying pests such as small flies and wasps, normally, they are attracted by the sweet sugar in fizzy drinks.
As the food is cooking and your busy showing off your vegetable patch – lettuce, carrots and beetroot all growing well, apart from the silvery trail that is all over you leaves. Gardeners hate to see the snail and slug trail as they destroy all your plants.
Some garden snails and slugs can carry the larvae of a parasitic worm, “Angiostrongylus Cantonensis” which is more commonly found in the lungs of rats, hence the name ‘rat lung worm’. As the snails or slug eat the droppings from an infected rat they pass the worm to their new host – vegetables.
This year when you are spraying fly and wasp killer, placing down ant powder, and watching for bees and wasps don’t forget to wash all you home produced vegetables and fruit.
Filed under: Articles — admin @ 12:11 pm on the March 2, 2010
Britain has always been know as a pet loving nation, keeping domestic animals such as cats, dogs, and hamsters. Some of us prefer exotic pets like snakes, chinchillas and tropical spiders. No matter which type of pet we keep, many of these animals need a great amount of looking after such as washing, grooming and cleaning. If this is neglected then you are not only putting your family pet in extreme danger but also health of your family.
Pets have a habit of collecting parasites on their bodies, parasites such as Ctenocephalides felis on cats and Ctenocephalides canis on dogs, or more commonly known as fleas. If left unattended a flea infestation will cause great discomfort to all that come in contact with the infested animal.
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Filed under: Articles — admin @ 11:56 am on the
Not long now till the weather starts to warm up and we all know what that means, the return of flying insects such as wasps, bees and flies and then there’s the crawling insects such as ants, earwigs and beetles. Many of these insects are not poisonous to humans but they do bring with them a fear of contamination especially when food is involved.
When the weather starts to heat up some home owners may take the steps to prevent an infestation of ants by purchasing some low quality pest control methods from the local hardware shop. This may turn out to be a waste of time and money as many of the ingredients used are not strong enough to kill all the pests.