Garden Bumblebee - Western Isles - Hebrides Insects

Garden Bumblebee

Bumblebees - Western Isles
Garden Bumblebee - Bombus Hortorum

The Garden Bumblebee is sometimes known as the Long-tongued Bumblebee and the Three-banded White-tail Bumblebee and can be seen all over The Western Isles and Outer Hebrides - it is quite a common bumblebee

Range of Habitats
The garden bumblebee is to be seen in a range of habitats, from woodland areas to scrubby areas - near streams or ditches and drains etc.

Description of Garden Bumblebee

This is a large bumblebee with a 'scruffy' look with long hair. It is a yellow, black and white banded species, with a long head.

Tongue of the Garden Bumblebee - Bombus Hortorum

The tongue is as long as its body (the longest of all bumblebees found in central Europe). The exceptionally long tongue of this species allows it to get nectar from plants with deep-tubed flowers, which honeybees and other bumblebees cannot exploit.


Three Distinct Orders
There are three sorts of the bumblebee, the queens, the workers and the males. All three look broadly similar in appearance, but males can be distinguished as they lack stings and have longer antennae than females

Nests
The nests of this bumblebee - the garden or bombus hortorum - typically contain some 50 to 120 individuals. This species is very common all over Europe, including all of the British Isles. The colonies are present between April and October

Queen Survives The Winter
The queen is the only member of a colony to survive the winter. The queens come out from April to begin to search for appropriate places for their nest

Underground Nests
Nests are usually underground, in banks or among tree roots. The queen creates a circular chamber in which she builds a wax egg cell, and she lays her first batch of eggs inside. The eggs are laid on a layer of pollen, which is collected by the queen, and then covered with a layer of wax

White Larvae
After hatching, the white larvae are fed on honey and pollen by the queen. When they are fully-grown, the larvae develop into pupae after spinning a protective silk cocoon around themselves. During the pupal stage, the larvae develop into adult workers.

Incubation
The queen incubates this first brood by lying over the cell in which they grow, keeping them warm with the heat of her body.

Workers - Commence Work
After emerging, the workers take on duties of foraging and nest care. The queen stays inside the nest, producing more batches of eggs. When the colony reaches its peak, males and new queens are produced. Males develop from unfertilised eggs.

Male Bumblebees Leave the Nest

Once the males leave the nest they fly around in search of new queens with which to mate. In this species, males are present between June and October, but their numbers peak towards the end of July . After mating, these new queens search for a place to hibernate. The colony and the old queen gradually die, and the newly mated queens emerge the following spring ready to start new colonies

GENERAL BEE FACTS
How did the bumblebee get its name? Related to the Honeybee? Colonies, Temperature - Body Heat - Life Cycle of The Bumblebee - Hibernation and many more bumble facts

 

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