I saw a Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) on the Camellia in front of the glasshouse range on 6 March. Heather McHaffie saw a bumblebee on the rhododendron beside the herbarium building on the same day, but this is beaten by one seen on 25th February by Ben Dell on the crocuses in the Demonstration Garden, where former beds have been laid to grass prior to the Botanics Cottage development starting. The latter sighting was only reported to me by him yesterday (7 March) while we were both walking round the perimeter of the Garden in the gale that closed the Garden. Neither bumblebee was identified to species although they were most likely to have been Bombus terrestris.

The bumblebee records are both much earlier than last year, when the first one was not seen till 11 April due to the cold spring we had. However the honey bee record is a few days later than last year’s (1 March, before the long cold spell began – but then none were seen again until 23 April because of the prolonged cold spell!)