Mmmm, summer. The scent of the lavender, the sound of the bees droning in the nearby flowers, something long and chilled to sip at – doesn’t that sound like heaven? While you’re relaxing and enjoying the sights, smells and sounds of our lavender field, lots and lots of insects are making the most of it too.
Did you know that in the UK we have over 250 varieties of bee? Unfortunately, the numbers of most wild species are dropping dramatically. This is due to a number of factors, including changes in farming methods which have seen an increase in the use of pesticides. Other dangers include an influx of Asian hornets, which prey on certain species of bee, and other parasites including mites. With natural food sources dwindling, you can imagine how happy the local bees are to discover our lavender meadow with its thousands of plants!
Many of the bees you’ll see and hear in the lavender are bumblebees, recognisable by their stripy bodies and white tails. They’re the ones that make that classic, low pitched droning noise that as humans we seem to find so soporific! You might also spot some busy honeybees working away, who have popped over from local hives for a quick snack. Other visitors including the delightfully-named hairy-footed flower bee, a small bee with a black body and yellow legs. If you’re very sharp-eyed, you may also spot a small scissor bee which at just 6 to 7mm long is Britain’s smallest bee, or the orange-tailed mining bee which gets its name from the orangey-red tip to its bottom.
However you feel about these industrious insects, their quiet buzzing is one of the iconic sounds of summer and we’re delighted that our lavender field is such a haven for bees. The lavender is now at a pitch of perfection, so if you haven’t been to see it yet then plan your visit.