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3 Posts tagged with the bees tag
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On a summer’s day in the Wildlife Garden and the Museum grounds, you might find several hundred different kinds of insects. If you count the individuals, including the honey bees and ants, then maybe thousands. Who knows, they might even outnumber the daily throng of human visitors to our galleries and exhibitions.

 

Indeed, there are more species of insect in the world than any other  group - experts have named over 1 million. (Some entomologists even  estimate 10 million species.) And not a day goes by for us humans, I’m  sure, without an encounter with at least one or many of them.

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Discover insect life this weekend in the Wildlife Garden as you  explore the meadows by the ponds. There are displays, activities and  tours and also talks in the nearby Darwin Dentre to join.

Come along on Saturday and Sunday, 2 and 3 July, to Insect Weekend in the Wildlife Garden and Darwin Centre and meet some of this multitudinous and diverse group. Find out about the buzzers, flutterers and crawlers from bees to beetles and damelflies to butterflies and moths.

 

On both days, there will be lots of fun activities for all ages, and many displays to explore.

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What will you see at Insect Weekend under the microscope? And tread carefully by the ponds, froglets are about. Select images to enlarge

Recent sightings in the garden includes lots of butterflies, from large white to comma, holly blue and speckled wood varieties.

 

Tiny froglets and toadlets are emerging from the ponds, so you'll need to tread carefully in the grasslands by the ponds. And don't forget the hundreds of tropical butterflies to see next door on the East lawn in our Sensational Butterflies exhibition.

 

Another highlight of the weekend event on Sunday will be botany expert Roy Vickery's tour of the garden about the 'forgotten uses of wild plants'. The 30-minute tours start around 1.45 and 3.15.

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Spiders are distant relatives of insects but that doesn't seem to bother them when it comes to their dietary requirements. Not sure what would escape this spider web photographed recently in the Wildlife Garden!

Visitors will get an insight into the insect diets of other creatures like bats, spiders and frogs. Apparently, at last month's Bat Festival in the Wildlife Garden, a lttle pipestrelle  bat spent nearly an hour flying over and around the main pond, in  pursuit of midges and other small insects. It caused a bit of a stir! And the Wildlife Garden team will be doing a bat survey on Saturday.

 

Max Barclay's Beetlemania talk and his collection highlights on Saturday are sure to be popular and another talk on Sunday, Caught in a Trap, will reveal the secrets of collecting insects. Both free talks are in the Attenborough Studio at 12.30 and 14.30.

 

Find out about the Wildlife Garden online

What is an insect?

Insects (from the Latin insectum) are a class of living creatures within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body (head, thorax, and abdomen), three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae.

 

Find out more about insects and spiders on our Nature Online pages

 

Every day we get enquiries about identifying strange looking insects on our online Identification forum

 

Join the OPAL Bugs Count survey - an amazing 204,205 bugs have already been counted so far.

 

Read the Bug Count launch news story and find out the 6 minibeasts to look out for

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Honey and hedges

Posted by Rose Oct 5, 2010

We've been harvesting some delicious honey from our Wildlife Garden bees. I was visiting the garden when Luke Dixon, the Museum’s beekeeper and Caroline, our Wildlife Garden manager, were shaking and brushing out our bee hive trays. We've added a video clip of the honey collecting on YouTube.

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Beekeeper Luke Dixon shaking out bee hive trays in the Wildlife Garden

 

Watch the Wildlife Garden honey collecting video clip on YouTube.

Discover the delights of the Museum's Wildlife Garden.

 

The beginning of September is the honey collecting season, explains Luke in the video, as he enthuses about the deliciousness of urban honey and especially London honey. I can support him wholeheartedly on this as I was one of the lucky staff members and volunteers who managed to get our hands on a jar before they all disappeared. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough to sell to the public. Our bees have created a distinctive taste that is really flavoursome and floral. It truly reflects the amazing variety of flora in the garden.

 

By the way, the smoke you’ll see in the video is there to calm the bees so they don’t get too anxious and angry about losing the fruits of their hard work all summer.

 

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On Saturday 25 September, the Wildlife Garden team was joined by staff and volunteers from the RSPB and OPAL for its last public event. You can see one of the day’s highlights pictured here. The hedge laid by hedgerow expert Rob Graham at Hedgerow Harvest was much admired by all.

 

Caroline was delighted it was such a success and a wonderful event to end this year's Wildlife Garden events season.

 

'As well as highlighting the importance of hedges for wildlife both in the countryside and in our gardens and parks,' said Caroline, 'it was about talking to our visitors about the many different hedgerow plants and associated insects, birds and other animals - some of which they could see in the garden - and introducing hedgerow plants used in folk medicine and edible plants. There were also some tasty samples of jams and wines made from wild fruit such as sloes, bramble and elderberries.'

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The big buzz

Posted by Rose Jun 30, 2010

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Hot news from the Wildlife Garden is that our bee tree is now humming with a new swarm of bees which was introduced about a month ago.

 

Caroline, the garden's manager, told me she's been waiting to see how the bees got on before telling everyone. Actually, they are doing really well and will be a star attraction at the garden's Yellow Book Day this Sunday, 4 July.

 

So 'what's a bee tree exactly?' I hear Pooh bear mumbling in my ear. It's a bbeehive-wildlife-garden-1.jpgee hive that's been cut into an 8-foot high ash tree trunk, pictured left. There are now about 15,000 bees in the hive which also houses eggs, young bees and honey. You can find out more about our bee tree at the event on Sunday. A word of advice, when you visit it, open the bark doors very carefully. And make sure to close them when you've had a look, as bees like the dark.

Another highlight of Sunday's event is the chance to meet our resident beekeeper, Dr Luke Dixon. Luke is an expert in urban beekeeping and helps look after the garden's 2 private beehives, which are also new this year and doing well. He will be holding 2 sessions at 12.30 and 14.00 and visitors can don the protective beekeeping clothing to have a look inside the hives.

 

There may be some Wildlife Garden honey to sample too, yummy!

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Other activities on Sunday include pond-dipping and a guide to the garden's native plants. There will be stalls with refreshments and wild flower plants for sale.

 

By the way, did you know that Melissa is Greek for honeybee?


Check out the Museum's Wildlife Garden

 

If you're interested in beekeeping, have a look at the Beekeepers Association website for some handy hints

 

Find out more about honeybees on our honeybees webpages

 

Thanks to Matt for the bee tree image and to Luke Dixon and Kristian Buus for the recent Wildlife Garden beehive images. Click on the images to enlarge them.