We are really lucky to do our walking in one of Gwent Wildlife Trusts beautiful reserves, which come the middle of the summer is thigh high with wildflowers, so normally finding bees is not an issue, but the very slow start to Spring means that there just aren't many of our stripy furry friends about yet. On our March walk we saw no bees at all and today despite there being far more foliage and blossom we saw only 3 queens, probably searching for a place to set up home for the summer.
Coupled with concerns about pesticides - in particular the recent publicity around neonicotinoid pesticides ( see here for info about the EU vote in Brussels tomorrow: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/historic-vote-to-ban-neonicotinoid-pesticides-blamed-for-huge-decline-in-bees-8591807.html), you could be forgiven for thinking that we are heading for a summer of Bumble Bee crisis. In his blog on the Bumble Bee Conservation Trust website,
http://bumblebeeconservation.org/news/anthonys-blog/how-are-bumblebees-coping-with-the-cold-uk-spring Anthony McCluskey sounds a positive note suggesting that the Queen Bumbles are instead just continuing to hibernate waiting for the right conditions to present themselves. Lets hope so - we really need our bees!