What’s with the dead bees?

Tonight I took a walk in Ditton Quarry Nature Reserve near Maidstone in Kent and came across about 30 dead bumble bees in one tiny patch of the quarry. Why?

My companion said it made her anxious, “like something was wrong.”

We are all so tuned in to bee deaths nowadays and imagine it is a sign that we are screwing up the planet. We are. But a delve into the Bumblebees Conservation Trusts website suggested a more innocent explanation, an overdose of lime nectar.

Lime trees are abundant in the quarry and it is just possible that the bees went crazy with lime. It seems the bees don’t get the equation right between the energy content of lime and the amount of energy they should use in finding it. Like running from shop to shop trying to find a sugary snack which gives you energy for only a few minutes. The bees just drop from exhaustion, particularly at the end of the flowering season.

Ah, but here’s the snag. Lime trees don’t produce nectar in April, so my friend may well be right to feel anxious and something indeed may be very wrong.

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