NEW! 2011
 REPORT ON WARWICKSHIRE’S
BUMBLEBEES
BY STEVEN FALK

BUMBLEBEES.

 

 

In Victorian Warwickshire, fifteen species of bumblebee were classified as common, this number dwindled right down to about six!  Two species that are a little more scarce are present here like the Nationally Scarce Large Garden Bumblebee and the not so common Red-shanked Carder Bumblebee bringing the number up to eight and the Tree Bumblebee (a new species to the UK) makes a total of nine!

 

 

LIFECYCLE

A simplified life cycle of a bumblebee starts when the female or queen is fertilized by the male in the late summer, she hibernates through the winter. The queen emerges in the Spring and feeds up to replenish her body reserves for egg laying. A suitable nest site is found and the queen begins to collect pollen from which she builds a pollen plate or small disc. When this is complete she then builds a few cells in which to lay her first eggs. When these hatch, they feed on the pollen and the queen tends to them until fully developed. They then pupate in the cells and hatch as the first worker bumblebees or infertile females. The queens only job from now on is to feed and lay eggs. Workers tend these, also collecting pollen and nectar for the nest. Toward the end of the season, the queen produces eggs that will develop into fertile females and males. When these eventually hatch as adults, they fly off, mate, the male dies and the female feeds up before hibernating for the winter. The nest cycle is over and the workers also die off.        

 

LIST OF BUMBLEBEE SPECIES FOUND IN THE STOUR AREA

 

Garden bumblebee

(Bombus hortorum)

 

Large garden bumblebee

(Bombus ruderatus)

 

Common carder bumblebee

(Bombus pascorum)

 

Small meadow bumblebee

(Bombus pratorum)

 

Buff-tailed bumblebee

(Bombus terestris)

 

White-tailed bumblebee

(Bombus lucorum)

 

Red-shanked carder bumblebee

(bombus ruderarius)

 

Red-tailed bumblebee

(Bombus lapidarius)

 

Tree bumblebee

(Bombus hypnorum)

 

See all nine species in the slide show!

 

Many of the pictures used in the below slide show, were taken in a survey of queen bumblebees. Note the 5mm scale!

WILDLIFE

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