Queen bee is an early riser

The buff tailed bumblebee

The buff tailed bumblebee

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No doubt we are in for a gale or two and probably a few frosty or snowy spells before winter finally gives way to spring, writes George Hogg (Hogg Estate Services).

However, keep you eyes and ears at the ready whenever we have one of those sunny and cloudless days with which winter blesses us now and then.

Dormant wildlife can be fooled by such days.

Hibernating butterflies or queen bumblebees can be stirred into temporary activity.

My picture shows a queen buff-tailed bumblebee, easily recognised by its sheer size, around 3cm long.

Only queen bumblebees survive through winter, hidden and hibernating.

Of several species, the buff-tailed queens are the largest.

In spring it is not unusual to hear folk saying they saw a “giant” bee flying around.

You can bet they have seen a buff-tail.

I recall last summer visiting a lavender farm during a break in Jersey.

I had never seen so many butterflies and bees together in one crop.

The scene was truly wonderful, yet how sad it was to see other visitors afraid of these gentle insects which are so much a part of

summer.

Sadly, many folk are now brought up in surroundings where insects are rarely encountered.

Back in my boyhood the friendly humming of bumblers was the soudtrack to summer.

The Bumblebee Conservation Society is striving to ensure our grandchildren know and love that sound.