You know, I remember my first bee of each year. That’s weird, right? The honey bee above was my first bee of 2015 – at Wightwick Manor in Wolverhampton on the 7th of March. In 2014 it was this Clarke’s Mining Bee on Brownhills Common on the 11th March:
In 2013 it was a Buff Tailed Bumblebee queen at the Sister Dora Cemetery in Walsall. In 2012 it was Clarke’s Mining Bee at Shire Oak Park, and in 2011 a Honey Bee at Clayhanger Common. I know, I’m a freak.
I tend to get the entomological equivalent of restless leg syndrome by this time of year – mid February is when you can see the first bumblebees appear (usually buff tailed queens), and then the rest start to appear in March. In fact, there are quite a lot of pretty similar-looking bees that can be found on the wing in March, so in the interest of my everlong quest to demystify entomology for you, I’ve updated my Quick Guide to Red and Black Bees in Spring, which you can DOWNLOAD FREE using this LINK or click on the image below.
I know they all look very similar at first glance, but trust me – you’ll get your eye in. It helps if you have a butterfly net (I’m going to do a field kit blog post very shortly!) and a Hand Lens as well as a few bug pots so that you can safely view the bees. More blogs on bee-hunting for beginners soon!