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    Great British Bee Count Competition

      Get involved with the Great British Bee Count from Friends of the Earth. To celebrate we're running a photo competition right up until the count finishes on 30th June. To enter simply send us your stunning bee photo's. Find full details of the competition on our bee photo competition page.   On this photo gallery page we'll be sharing entries so far and we'd love your comments about which photo's you love, and how many bees you've been counting for the #GreatBritishBeeCount!   [caption id="attachment_6535" align="aligncenter" width="500"]bee photo competition entry shot of bee Sheena Batey entry via twitter[/caption]     [caption id="attachment_6534" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Bee photo competition entry bee on flower photo Cynthia Davies entry via email[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_6533" align="aligncenter" width="500"]bee photo competition entry bee on flower Cynthia Davies photo competition entry[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_6532" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Green and blue bee photo competition bumble bee on flower Cynthia Davies entry via email[/caption]   Cynthia Davies entry via email Cynthia Davies via email   [caption id="attachment_6531" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Claire Davies entry via email Claire Davies entry via email[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_6529" align="aligncenter" width="500"]bee photo competition photo of bee on purple flower Purple Vegan entry via twitter[/caption]   Shannan Grierson entry via email Shannan Grierson via email   [caption id="attachment_6865" align="aligncenter" width="500"]great british bee count photo comp entry babylee30 via instagram Babylee30 via Instagram[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_6866" align="aligncenter" width="500"]great british bee count photo competition tropic_ellie via instagram[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_6867" align="aligncenter" width="500"]great british bee count photo competition green an blue raachelbboboe via instagram[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_6868" align="aligncenter" width="500"]great britsh bee count photo comp Debsroon via Instagram[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_6869" align="aligncenter" width="500"]great british bee count entry photo comp kspeechly93 via instagram[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_6870" align="aligncenter" width="500"]green and blue competition debsroon via Instagram[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_6871" align="aligncenter" width="500"]green and blue photo competition smeebee via instagram[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_6872" align="aligncenter" width="500"]great british bee count by friends of the earth bee photo Lindsey Martyn via Instagram[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_6873" align="aligncenter" width="500"]photo of bee competition entry Lauren Hatt via twitter[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_6874" align="aligncenter" width="500"]bee photo competition by green and blue orange blossom via twitter[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_6875" align="aligncenter" width="500"]green and blue photo competition entry Sian Hallewell via twitter[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_6876" align="aligncenter" width="500"]pictures of bee bumble bee Paula Walls via twitter[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_6877" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Photo of bees competition Simon Gooding via email[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_6878" align="aligncenter" width="500"]picture of bee photo competition simon gooding via email[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_6879" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Green and blue photo competition pictures of bees Debs and Ellis via email[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_6880" align="aligncenter" width="500"]green and blue bee photo competition debs and ellis via email[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_6881" align="aligncenter" width="500"]green and blue bee photo competition entry jessica mather via email[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_6882" align="aligncenter" width="500"]bees in a bee nest by green and blue Elizabeth Barrett via email[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_6883" align="aligncenter" width="500"]photo of a bee Kirsty macdonald via email[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_6884" align="aligncenter" width="500"]green and blue photo competition bee on a thistle Alison via twitter[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_6885" align="aligncenter" width="500"]photo of a solitary bee on flower John Charters via email[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_6886" align="aligncenter" width="500"]pictures of a bee green and blue David Truelove via email[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_6887" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Green and blue photo competition David Truelove via email[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_6996" align="aligncenter" width="500"]great british bee count photo of bee Lisa Anderson via email[/caption] [caption id="attachment_6997" align="aligncenter" width="500"]photo of bumble bee photo competition Lisa Anderson via email[/caption] [caption id="attachment_6998" align="aligncenter" width="500"]great british bee count photo competition entry Lisa Anderson via email[/caption] [caption id="attachment_6999" align="aligncenter" width="500"]photo of bee for photo competition Lisa Anderson via email[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7000" align="aligncenter" width="500"]bee in flight photo by lisa anderson Lisa Anderson via email[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7001" align="aligncenter" width="500"]bee on yellow flower photo competition Zoe Freedman via email[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7002" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Bee covered in pollen photo competition Colette Mackay[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7003" align="aligncenter" width="500"]yellow flowers and bee photograph April Haddock via twitter[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7004" align="aligncenter" width="500"]bee and lavender photograph Lauren Hatt Via twitter[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7005" align="aligncenter" width="500"]great british bee count photo competition Lauren Hatt via twitter[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7006" align="aligncenter" width="500"]bee in flight makro photography April Haddock via twitter[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7007" align="aligncenter" width="500"]bee on thistle photograph Saz mills via twitter[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7008" align="aligncenter" width="500"]great british bee count photo competition by green and blue April Haddock via twitter[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7009" align="aligncenter" width="500"]big bee photograph for green and blue competition Debra Johnson via email[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7010" align="aligncenter" width="500"]bee photograph for green&Blue competition Debra Johnson via email[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7011" align="aligncenter" width="500"]solitary bee on bee brick photo competition Paul Blackbourn via email[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7012" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Solitary bee nesting in bee brick by green&Blue Paul Blackbourn via email[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7013" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Solitary bees in action on bee brick Paul Blackbourn via email[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7014" align="aligncenter" width="500"]bee brick nesting site for solitary bees photo Paul Blackbourn via email[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7015" align="aligncenter" width="500"]bee on purple flower makro photography photo competition entry Jocelyn Bennet via email[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7016" align="aligncenter" width="500"]picture of a bee for photo competition April Colley via email[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_7021" align="aligncenter" width="500"]bee on pink flower Zee61 Via Instagram[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7022" align="aligncenter" width="500"]bee photos for photo competition Spud boy whizz via instagram[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7023" align="aligncenter" width="500"]bee on purple flower bee photography abrammag via instagram[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7024" align="aligncenter" width="500"]bee photography for greatbritishbeecount photo competitoin Imustbemadbe via Instagram[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7025" align="aligncenter" width="500"]bee on flower by green and blue spud boy whizz via Instagram[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7026" align="aligncenter" width="500"]bee photography for great british bee count photo competition KittyKat41 via twitter[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7027" align="aligncenter" width="500"]solitary bee photography by green and blue Gill Colling via email[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7028" align="aligncenter" width="500"]bee fly photogaphy Lucy Underwood via email[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7029" align="aligncenter" width="500"]bee photo competition bee photo Paul Blackbourn via email[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7030" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Bee photograph for great british bee count Linda Tait via email[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7031" align="aligncenter" width="500"]bee photograph makro photo natalie Jones via email[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7032" align="aligncenter" width="500"]#greatbritishbeecount photo of bee Joanne Beale via email[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7033" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Photo of bee for competition Lisa Williams via email[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7034" align="aligncenter" width="500"]swarm of bees photo for bee photography competition Sallyann Johnston via email[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7035" align="aligncenter" width="500"]photo of bees for photo competition Sallyann Johnston via email[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7036" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Bee on thumb green&Blue photo competition Adrian Bold via email[/caption]     OH NO! Now we have to choose a winner!! We could really do with your help. Take a browse through the gallery and leave us a comment telling us which photo you like best - make our job a little easier!! We think you'll agree there are so many stunning entries so we really do need a hand!

    The State of Nature report

    The State of Nature report brings together data and expertise from over 50 organisations, providing an update on how wildlife is faring across the UK, and its seas, Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories.  

    David Attenborough state of nature report

      This is the foreword in the State of Nature report 2016 from Sir David Attenborough.   The first State of Nature report that I helped to launch in 2013 revealed the severe loss of nature that has occurred in the UK since the 1960s. Three years on, I am pleased to see that the partnership of organisations behind that important report has grown. Thanks to the dedication and expertise of many thousands of volunteers working closely with the professionals, we are now able to document even more about the changing state of nature across our land and in our seas. The news, however, is mixed. Escalating pressures, such as climate change and modern land management, mean that we continue to lose the precious wildlife that enriches our lives and is essential to the health and well-being of those who live in the UK, and also in its Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories. Our wonderful nature is in serious trouble and it needs our help as never before. But the State of Nature 2016 report gives us cause for hope too. The rallying call issued in 2013 has been met with a myriad of exciting and innovative conservation projects. Landscapes are being restored, special places defended, and struggling species are being saved and brought back. Such successes demonstrate that if conservationists, governments, businesses and individuals all pull together, we can provide a brighter future for nature and for people.  

    david attenborough state of nature report

    Read the full report here

    Read more about solitary bees here

    Read more about what you can do in your own back garden here.

    Brigit Strawbridge (Bee lady!) guest post

    We're massive fans of Brigit Strawbridge here at Green&Blue, what she doesn't know about bees and pollinators isn't worth knowing! So we were delighted when she agreed to let us share this blog post she wrote, 'Some very basic information about bees'. It's a very useful guide to bees, in all their various guises! Enjoy. And you can follow Brigit's own blog here, or find her on twitter here. childs drawing of a bee What's the first thing that springs to mind when you hear the word 'bee'? For many people this word conjures up images of beehives, honey, and people dressed in strange, white, masked outfits; i.e honeybee related images. Yet, if I gave the same people a box of coloured pencils and asked them to draw me a bee, most would probably draw something black, yellow and black striped in the shape of a rugby ball; basically something more akin to a bumblebee. So there is clearly a little confusion. [caption id="attachment_6279" align="aligncenter" width="320"]Andrena cineraria (Ashy mining bee) brigit strawbridge Andrena cineraria (Ashy mining bee)[/caption] I thought it might help if I wrote down some very basic information to help clear up some of this confusion.......... There are over 20,000 different species of bee in the world. 7 of these are honeybees. 250 are bumblebees The rest are solitary bees! Honeybees and bumblebees are 'social' bees - which means they live together in colonies comprising a queen, female workers, and males. There are tens of thousands of worker bees in a honeybee colony, but only around 50 - 400 in a bumblebee colony. All 'worker bees' are female. Solitary bees do not have queens or a worker caste, nor (with one or two exceptions) do they share their nests with other solitary bees. This is why they are called 'solitary'. They do, however, often nests alongside each other. [caption id="attachment_6277" align="aligncenter" width="320"]Megachile centuncularis (Patchwork leafcutter bee) Brigit Strawbridge Megachile centuncularis (Patchwork leafcutter bee)[/caption] After mating, female solitary bees make nests. They do this either by excavating tunnels in the ground (ground nesting) or using pre-existing cavities in walls, trees, plant stems etc (cavity nesting). The females provision their nests with sufficient pollen for the larvae to feed on when they hatch, then they lay an egg alongside each lump of pollen, seal the nest, and die before their young complete their life cycles to become adult bees. These new adult bees remain in hibernation in their nests throughout autumn and winter... and emerge the following year in spring or summer to start their life cycle all over again. ************************ [caption id="attachment_6275" align="aligncenter" width="320"]Apis mellifera (Honeybee) Brigit Strawbridge Apis mellifera (Honeybee)[/caption] Only honeybees make honey, which they make out of nectar collected from flowers. Honeybees turn the nectar into honey to store over winter, so the colony has something to feed on whilst it's too cold to forage and flowers are scarce. Other bee species also collect nectar, but do not turn it into honey. They just use it as an energy drink. ************************* [caption id="attachment_6276" align="aligncenter" width="320"]Bombus terrestris (Buff-tailed bumblebee) Brigit Strawbridge Bombus terrestris (Buff-tailed bumblebee)[/caption] Unlike honeybee colonies, bumblebee colonies do not overwinter. Each bumblebee colony produces males and new daughter queens in the summer (at different times depending on the species). These new queens mate and then go into hibernation till next spring. The old queen, together with all the female workers and the males, die before winter. That is the end of this nest. So, in a way, you could say honeybee colonies are 'perennials' and bumblebees colonies are 'annuals'. ************************ As well as collecting nectar, bees also collect pollen, which they use to feed their young. Different species collect their pollen in different ways..... Social bees (honeybees and bumblebees) collect it in pollen baskets on their hind legs. They pack the pollen into these baskets very neatly, so don't drop much off on their way home. Solitary bees, however, collect pollen on stiff branched hairs, either under their abdomen (cavity nesting species) or on their legs (ground nesting species). It is not moistened or packed down, which means lots of this pollen drops off on the other flowers they visit as they make their way home. This makes them extremely good pollinators. ************************ Only female bees have a sting. Male bees do not. If a honeybee worker stings you, she dies. If bumblebees sting (which they very rarely do) they will not die. This is because the honeybee sting is barbed, whereas the bumblebee sting is more like a needle. Apart from a few exceptions, solitary bee stings are mostly redundant and incapable of even piercing the human skin. *********************** [caption id="attachment_6278" align="aligncenter" width="320"]Halictus rubicundus (Orange-legged Furrow-bee) Brigit Strawbridge Halictus rubicundus (Orange-legged Furrow-bee)[/caption] The most important thing of all is that we provide food and habitat for ALL of these species. They all pollinate different plants, in different ways, at different times of the year, and in different habitats. DIVERSITY is the key! It is equally important that we provide for other pollinating insects like butterflies, moths, hoverflies, beetles, wasps and flies. Photos within this post are of a honeybee, bumblebee, cavity nesting solitary bee and ground nesting bee.... showing the different ways they collect their pollen. Thanks for reading, Brigit Strawbridge. leafcutter solitary bee in bee hotel Thanks so much to Brigit for this guest post, hope you enjoyed it and have maybe learnt something new, we certainly have.