Have you encountered them in your garden? Tree bumble bees (Bombus hypnorum) are a good news story in pollinating insect circles. They are new to our shores, first observed in the UK on July 17th in 2001. Unlike some other species they are thriving, spreading fast and they look like this.
Ginger thorax, black abdomen and white tail.
The trouble is, we have a nest of them in an air brick next to the path to all those things in the garden that we have to visit frequently. (Thank goodness we no longer use the outside privy!) As we have learned, the tree bumble bee defends its nest in a very pro-active manner. When disturbed, a posse of very aggressive workers emerges from the air brick and dive-bombs us.
Wikipedia says,"They may well sting unprovoked." Help!
The bees love our pesticide-free cottage garden flowers.
When Mr N returned from his bike ride this afternoon I listed my heroic deeds,
"I've pegged the washing out, put the rubbish in the dustbin, taken delivery of a new compost bin and set it up, cut the grass, trimmed some trees and bushes, filled the garden waste bin, picked some herbs for dinner, brought the washing in, swept the garden paths - all while risking guerrilla bee attacks!"
"Oh, stop whinging," he said, "You just did it for the buzz..."