White Tailed Bumblebee - Western Isles - Hebrides Insects
Bumblebees - Western Isles
White Tailed Bumblebee - Bombus Lucorum
This bee - the white tailed bumblebee - lucorum is often to be seen in The Western Isles - quite often its close relative the Northern White Tailed bee which is only to be seen in the Hebrides also shows its face. The two bumblebees are quite difficult to tell apart.
Population - White Tailed Bumblebee Decline
Populations of this bee are believed to be declining - however you can see this species on The Western Isles.
Northern White Tailed Bumblebee
The type that is often found here is the Northern White-tailed bumblebee - the differences between the two really are quite subtle.
Characteristics of THe more Commonly found Northern White tailed Bumblebee
A characteristic species of this species are that it has two yellow bands and a white tail, and a white tip to the abdomen. Males have yellow hairs on the face and rear of the thorax. Lengths, queen 19-20, worker 11-17, male 14-16
The white tailed bumblebee is seen in a variety of habitats - moorland, grassland,woodland and gardens - especially along the coastline. These bees are a short tongued species who visit many different flowers.
Similar Behaviour to Honey Bees
The white tailed bumblebees behave in a similar way to to Honey Bees. Like most bees they pollinate flowers. These bees have the social grouping of workers, drones and queen. However the white tailed bees have much much smaller colonies - 150 instead of 50 thousand bees to a colony and they don't make enough honey to survive the winter period. In the first cold weather after Autumn - the drones, the workers and the old queen bees die. The fertilized young queens hibernate coming out in the spring.
Nest on The Ground
The workers are similar in appearance to the queens - although smaller. These bees build their nest on or in the ground and there will be about 150 more workers. They feed on nectar and, where the flowers have a long tube, they will take the nectar through a hole cut in the base of the flower. This is easily done as they have short tongues.
Chamber is Created
The queen makes a circular chamber in which she builds a wax egg cell. She will lays her first batch of eggs inside this chamber.
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.
White Larvae Fed on Honey
After hatching - the white larvae eat the honey and the pollen given to them by the queen bee. Once they are fully grown they stop eating and grow into pupae. They will have spun a protective layer of silk around themselves and then go on to become adult worker bees These workers then look after the nest whilst the queen produces another batch of eggs.
The males develop from unfertilised eggs and look for new queens with which to mate. Once the mating has taken place the new queens search look for suitable places to hibernate. The colony - including the old queen then dies out and the new queens come out of hibernation for the procedure to start again afresh
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
Click pictures below for larger photographs