Gardening for Bumblebees by Dave Goulson

This is a great little booklet published by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust which is based at StirlingUniversity. The booklet has bumblebees in its title but as it’s author Dave Goulson says, if we look after our bumblebees we will benefit much else besides.

As you would expect there is good practical advice as to how gardeners can help bees overcome the loss of so much habitat in the countryside. This is mainly specific advice about what types of plants you can grow in your flower beds and but also gives advice about creating meadow conditions on a tiny or large scale. There is also a lovely section about the bumblebee life cycle. I was amazed to discover that the bumblebees we see in our gardens in late winter incubate their eggs not unlike a bird. They have to keep the eggs at 30 degrees centigrade even though the temperature outside might be freezing. They do this by vibrating their flight muscles to produce heat as they cover their eggs with their body.

The booklet ends with instructions on how to provide nesting sites for bumblebees. The author notes that commercial ready made nest boxes are more popular with woodlice, earwigs and spiders than with bees. He gives clear instructions illustrated with good diagrams on how to easily make your own nest sites using plant pots, paving slabs and other found materials. I shall be doing that this winter ready for next years emerging queen bumblebees.

At £3 including p&p for 26 pages of bee information and photographs I think it is a most enjoyable and useful booklet and a bargain. 

Find out more about bumblebees at

Order your copy of the book from

Bumblebee Conservation Trust, School of Biological and Enviromental Sciences. University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA

general enquiries:

membership enquiries:

bumblebee identification: Please visit the BeeWatch pages

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