Message from Researcher James Mackinson:

I am a bee biologist from Western Sydney University. I am currently in Tasmania until the 9th of May studying the nesting requirements of the large earth bumblebee (Bombus terrestris).

I’m looking for help finding nesting colonies. I would like to describe the nesting conditions of this non-native species in Tasmania, as well as look inside these colonies to determine their parasite load and reproductive output in Tasmanian ecosystems.

In addition, in October last year my colleagues and I used radio telemetry to follow young house hunting bumblebee queens to their new homes. We made a unique discovery, following one bumblebee back to a young colony she was building at the woolly base of fronds in a soft tree fern (Dicksonia antarctica). We want to see whether this is a common strategy for bumblebees in Tasmania, and are looking to find as many tree fern colonies as possible.

If you have any such ferns on your property, please check them for signs of bumblebee activity. You may notice bees flying around the tree, or even here a low humming around the tree itself.

Please call or text me on 04 9112 4016 if you know the location of a bumblebee colony and are happy for me to come and study this colony.