Saturday 7 May 2011

Eye-catching Insects (5): Pollen time

A busy bee at Aberglasney

I am wondering whether this might be a White-Tailed Bumblebee: you can see another photo here (& please click to enlarge) on David's blog.

Perhaps it is a Cuckoo Bumble ... a species without worker bees, that lays its eggs in the nest of other bumbles.


L. D. said...

I have been hearing the bees but didn't get a chance to see what kind is out there. I have so many flowering trees right now and some need to be pollenated.

Barry Stewart said...

Hi Caroline, I suspect this is the Garden Bumblebee (Bombus hortorum), but there are a couple of other less likely species I can't rule out from this image.

Nigel Ajax Lewis said...

I think Barry is correct. When I first saw your photo via his Gower blog and the suggestion that it was a cuckoo bumblebee the first thing that struck me was that it appears to have a pollen basket on its hind leg which cuckoo bumblebees don't have because they don't bother to collect pollen, they get the true bumblebees of the nest they are parasitising to do that.

Secondly you have very cleverly managed to photograph this individual showing that it has a very long tongue which is characteristic of B hortorum and is confirmed by the fact that it has three yellow stripes, one each end of the thorax, and one at the front of the abdomen.

I think it is probably a queen as they seem to bealmost the last of the common bumblebees to be seen in spring.

Caroline Gill said...

Thank you, Nigel, very much. I tried to contact you via your Blogger profile to thank you, but could not find an email. Anyway, perhaps you will re-visit and find this.

Good, too, to have the proboscis pointed out, which I had missed ...