Friday, December 22, 2017
Bumblebees on Camellias
Now that mild weather has returned to East Sussex, a few bumblebees are on the wing again in the garden. This is, as far as I can tell, a queen buff-tailed bumble bee (Bombus terrestris) photographed this morning. The single-flowered pink camellia is Camellia x williamsii 'J. C. Williams' which usually starts flowering here in December and is very popular with bees at a time when many of the mahonias are going over.
It must have been thought of by others, but I wonder if these light-sleeping queens that find nectar and pollen sources when they wake up in mild spells in winter are getting an evolutionary advantage. In the past, when there were few, or no sources of nectar in the countryside, light sleepers would have been at a disadvantage, but now camellias, mahonias and other winter-flowering exotics are common in gardens, the light-sleepers may be getting a survival advantage over those who do not wake up until primrose time. Perhaps a more attractive idea than that it is all due to global warming.