mini meadow 2014 – bumblebees

31 Mar 2014 buying the bee id app. By NatureGuides Ltd.

having seen boldly marked bumblebee this morning. Seems like it is Bombus hypnorum the tree bumblebee. One of the 6 commonest spp. Probably a queen… very black abdomen with white tip… ginger thorax the most striking feature.

Following on from this I started to get familiar with our regular bees. The app. is really well designed I think and has helped me to learn the basics very quickly.

Buff-tailed (terrestris)–  is probably our commonest bumblebee and it seems like you can see them in any month nowadays…. I watched them on the yellow rattle and where the garden bumblebee (horturum) would whizz from one rattle flower to another (with its tongue lolling) terrestris would be slow moving and I think they had to get to the nectar through the back door… certainly they did with the comfrey flowers (most of which had holes cut in the back to allow access to these bigger shorter tongued bees).  A lumbering bear compared to hortorum.

garden bumblebee (bombus horturum) with tongue hanging

garden bumblebee (bombus horturum) with tongue hanging

early Bombus pascuorum… mainly remember these on comfrey and on the garden plant Nectaroscordum (a garlic type) . They are really distinctive, small and fast moving,  with sulphur yellow bands and the end of the abdomen a hairy egg yolk orange.

I don’t remember seeing many red-tailed (lapidarius)… a big queen throbbing on the outside of the studio…. should have made notes though… can’t be sure there weren’t more.

common carder bumblebee (pascuorum)… probably the second commonest after buff-tailed and they really liked the yellow rattle.

tree bumblebee (hypnorum) was also really common, another one using the back entrance of the comfrey and they were on bramble quite a bit. They also seemed to be round the front of the house a lot (on the street), that is quite a sun trap.

I was never convinced that I’d seen white- tailed (lucorum)… so it seemed like we have 6 species in good numbers. I’ll try and keep better track of when they are active in 2015.  Only seen the odd buff-tail so far (mid feb).


think this must be garden bumblebee on comfrey – 26th may

2014-05-27 09.47.55

carder bumble on rattle