Friday, 6 April 2012

First Cuckoo (Bumblebee) of Spring?

Bumblebee Update:- 11/04/2012

Heather Martin kindly sent me this picture of a bumblebee nest she found in one of her woodland dormouse boxes. The young queen is possibly Bombus terrestris or Bombus lucorum. However it is the presence of the nectar pots that makes this photograph so nice.

Here too is another really good picture of a bumblebee. Most likely a Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum) though I cannot see the crisp white tail to be absolutely sure. The Common Carder Bee (Bombus pascuorum) would be another possible candidate.


 Pictures by Heather Martin 11/04/2012


Well, the first Cuckoo Bumblebee I have successfully identified, to be precise.
This is the Southern Cuckoo Bumblebee, Bombus vestalis, which as the name suggests, is a common bumblebee in the South of the UK. As this is not the most detailed of photographs (but believe me, its the best one I took) I have included a link to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust's (BBCT) photo gallery.
http://www.bumblebeeconservation.org.uk/gallery.htm

Just to prove I do get a reasonable bee photo every now and again.
This is a queen White-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus lucorum. One of the six most common bumblebees in the UK, she can be distinguished from a queen Buff-tailed Bumblebee, B.terrestris in that her yellow bands are more "lemon yellow", where as B.terrestris tends to be a more orange-yellow. Also B.lucorum is more "bulb shaped". Its the sort of thing you notice when you get your eye in (or become overconfident and call it wrong!). The buff-tail of B.terrestis is the biggest clue of course, but it is not always that easy to see.

Again there are lots of good photographs on the BBCT website;

Whatever they are they are certainly enjoying the sunny weather.

My shed needs a coat of paint too.

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