JR's UK bugs forum: Bumblebees

 
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ImageJRsbugs
Mar 1, 2010 5:37 PM CST
Name: Janet
Near Lincoln UK
Bombus campestris on 10th June 2009, feeding on Leptospermum nitidum which I grew from seed.

This is a Cuckoo bee, that is it utilises other bee nests so have no queens, only males and females.

Comments here please

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ImageJRsbugs
Mar 1, 2010 5:47 PM CST
Name: Janet
Near Lincoln UK
Bombus hortorum on 21st April 2009, feeding on Pulsatilla vulgaris which I also grew from seed.

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ImageJRsbugs
Mar 1, 2010 5:55 PM CST
Name: Janet
Near Lincoln UK
Bombus hortorum, on 9th June 2009 heading for Foxglove, Digitalis purpurea.

They have a very long proboscis which enables them to reach into deep-throated flowers, the Foxglove is one of their favourites.

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ImageJRsbugs
Mar 1, 2010 6:03 PM CST
Name: Janet
Near Lincoln UK
Bombus hypnorum on 13th June 2009.

This is relatively new to the UK, having migrated from the European mainland. It was also my first sighting of this bee, it is unmistakable with it's tawny orange thorax and black abdomen with white tail.

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ImageJRsbugs
Mar 2, 2010 7:06 PM CST
Name: Janet
Near Lincoln UK
Bombus lapidarius queen, on 22nd March 2009 feeding on Pieris japonica 'Forest Flame'.

The all black body with a bright red tail is distinctive, but there is a Cuckoo bee (Bombus rupestris) which can be difficult to tell apart.

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ImageJRsbugs
Mar 2, 2010 7:10 PM CST
Name: Janet
Near Lincoln UK
Bombus lapidarius male, on 20th June 2009 feeding on Leptospermum nitidum.

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ImageJRsbugs
Mar 2, 2010 7:14 PM CST
Name: Janet
Near Lincoln UK
Bombus lapidarius mating pair, on 8th July 2009.

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ImageJRsbugs
Mar 2, 2010 7:19 PM CST
Name: Janet
Near Lincoln UK
Bombus lapidarius female (worker), on 22nd June 2009 feeding on Geranium.

The worker looks the same as the queen, but is much smaller.

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ImageJRsbugs
Mar 4, 2010 7:17 PM CST
Name: Janet
Near Lincoln UK
Bombus lucorum queen, 11th March 2009 on Crocus 'Flower Record'

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ImageJRsbugs
Mar 4, 2010 7:22 PM CST
Name: Janet
Near Lincoln UK
Bombus lucorum male, 20th June 2009, feeding on Leptospermum nitidum.

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ImageJRsbugs
Mar 4, 2010 7:28 PM CST
Name: Janet
Near Lincoln UK
Bombus lucorum worker, 20th June 2009, feeding on Lovage (Levisticum officinale) flowers.

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ImageJRsbugs
Mar 8, 2010 7:12 PM CST
Name: Janet
Near Lincoln UK
Bombus pascuorum queen, 8th September 2009.

Feeding on Sedum 'Frosty Morn'. The new queen will overwinter, the rest of the colony will die towards autumn.

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ImageJRsbugs
Mar 8, 2010 7:18 PM CST
Name: Janet
Near Lincoln UK
Bombus pascuorum worker, on 24th September 2009.

These can usually be seen until well into October.

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ImageJRsbugs
Mar 11, 2010 1:44 PM CST
Name: Janet
Near Lincoln UK
Bombus pratorum queen on 12th July 2009.

Taking a well earned rest, this is a small bumblebee.

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ImageJRsbugs
Mar 11, 2010 1:48 PM CST
Name: Janet
Near Lincoln UK
Bombus pratorum worker on 6th May 2009.

Diving into Azalea Purple Splendour.

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ImageJRsbugs
Mar 11, 2010 1:53 PM CST
Name: Janet
Near Lincoln UK
Bombus pratorum male on 21st May 2009.

Feeding on the tiny flowers of Cotoneaster horizontalis.

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ImageJRsbugs
Mar 11, 2010 1:56 PM CST
Name: Janet
Near Lincoln UK
Bombus pratorum male on 9th June 2009.

Taking a rest on Choisya ternata 'Moonsleeper'.

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ImageJRsbugs
Mar 12, 2010 7:17 PM CST
Name: Janet
Near Lincoln UK
Bombus rupestris female, 30th May 2009.

This was the first time I had seen a female of this cuckoo bee, I had several of the males the previous year. It was feeding on the same Rhododendron as it's victim, Bombus lapidarius. It was perhaps a little larger than B. lapidarius queen, it's buzz was a little different but otherwise difficult to tell apart by sight unless the two were together. I noticed that B. lapidarus queen was wary of me where B. rupestris took no notice. Cuckoo bees don't have pollen baskets on their hind legs as they don't make their own nests, instead they utilise their host's resources.

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ImageJRsbugs
Mar 12, 2010 7:22 PM CST
Name: Janet
Near Lincoln UK
Bombus rupestris male, 19th June 2009.

This was strangely the only sighting I had of a male last year, which was unusual as I had several feeding the previous year on Dahlias. It made a quick landing and a quick getaway! It is similar to the male B. lapidarius, except the face is all black where B. lapidarius has yellow hairs on the face.

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ImageJRsbugs
Mar 14, 2010 7:12 PM CST
Name: Janet
Near Lincoln UK
I feel sure this is Bombus sylvestris, female, on 18th August 2009 feeding on Dahlia 'Bishop's Children'.

This is another Cuckoo bee which is a parasite to other Bumblebees. The curved tail is unmistakable in this species.

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