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A book about bees
by Creusebear • Sat 04 Aug 2018 18:07

I love my summers in the Creuse (even tho this one is a little warm!) as it gives me the opportunity to read more in a few weeks than I do for the rest of the year!

One surprising book has been 'A Sting in the Tale' by Dave Goulson who has devoted his life to the study of bumblebees. It was absolutely fascinating, especially as there is a lot of mystery surround the life habits of bumblebees which was a surpise to me, and that some numbers are farmed to pollinate commercial tomato greenhouses! Apparently finding bumblebee nests is quite a challenge and the last place they seem interested in for nest sites are the 'bee hotels' you find in every garden centre these days. A lot of the book was about the demise of the bumblebee's habitat and therefore the decline of several species in the UK. He talks a lot about the Importance of wild life friendly planting in gardens and farmlands and has even bought his own meadow in France (Charente) which he is slowly converting back to more natural environment.
We don't have a meadow but have been tinkering with the idea of leaving the grass to grow for a while, partly as a food source for insects but also to cut down on the mowing. After reading this book I have decided to invest in some bumble bee friendly meadow seeds for next year to see if we can do our bit for the beleaguered 'dumbledores'. We are also planting several hawthorn and mixed hedges for food and nest sites. (Sloe gin might be an accidental by product)
Do you have any tips to share to support the local wildlife?

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Creusebear
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May 2007
Re: A book about bees
by virtdave • Sun 05 Aug 2018 09:34

Bumblebees seem particularly attracted to lavender, which grows easily here. I seem to recall that some aeronautical engineer once published a paper proving that it was physically impossible for a bumblebee to fly.
I've noticed that this year there are rather more foraging honeybees and bumblebees than in the past few years. Perhaps Europe's ban on neonicotinoid pesticides is working.

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Sep 2008
Re: A book about bees
by Creusebear • Sun 05 Aug 2018 12:04

We have some lavender too and it is a magnet for bees, bumblebees, butterflies and the Hummingbird hawk moths as in Dave's photos on the Creuse in Pictures thread (in fact, that could be our lavender!) We also have buddleia and comfrey and are planning to plant more next year.

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Creusebear
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May 2007
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