The small colony (maybe 50-100 bees) have taken up residence in a bird box left in a Leylandi hedge about 1.5m from the ground. Whereas most bumble bees species prefer to nest on or under the ground so called tree bumble bees generally nest in trees. This cleaver insects are new comers to the UK having been first recorded in 2000. They are spreading north and seem well adapted to urban situations.
This is a positive in an otherwise bleak picture for bees. Many of the UKs 250 native bee species are in decline with some facing extinction and others already lost. Reasons for decline are complex but intensive farming, pesticides, habitat loss and climate change are all involved. It is also possible intensive honey bee keeping creates problems of competition for foarge and may introduce disease into wild bee populations. Think carefully before embarking on honey bee keeping. If you want to help bees plant some bee friendly plants, i.e. anything rich in nectar and pollen. This could be anything from dandelions to fruit trees, flowering shrubs, umbellifers, etc. Ideally you want a succession of plants that flower after each other to provide continous food.
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