Bumblebee Identification 

a bumblebee in the process of pollinating a pink flower
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Apidae
Genus: Bombus
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    What Is a Bumblebee?

    Bumblebees are part of the genus Bombus, containing more than 250 species.[1] Generally, bumblebees are found in temperate climates in the Northern Hemisphere, but some species live in tropical climates in South America. 

    Most bumblebees are social insects, which means that they live in colonies and have only one queen. Bumblebees care for their young as a group, and worker bees perform most of the daily tasks of the hive.

    Drone bees and queen bees are solely responsible for reproducing and producing more larvae for the colony. 

    Bumblebee colonies are much smaller than honey bee colonies, with as few as fifty individuals in a single nest. They function, however, similarly to honey bee colonies, with a queen bee and worker bees who are responsible for most of the work. 

    Adult bumblebees consume nectar and pollen, and their larvae only consume pollen. Foraging for nectar and pollen, bumblebees utilize the color and smell of flowers to determine where to find them. 

    While bumblebees do not produce honey, they sometimes collect and store nectar in their hives within small cells. Larvae of bumblebees consume pollen balls that adults collect and provide to them within their hive. 

    Bumblebees are very important pollinators. Pollination occurs when insects or the wind carry pollen from flower to flower, assisting flowers and plants in reproduction. Plants that cross-pollinate are unable to reproduce without the assistance of pollinators such as bumblebees. 

    A number of human food sources require pollination, which is why bumblebees and other bees play such an important role in natural ecosystems. If they were not present, plants would die off and human food sources would become scarce. 

    Bumblebees contribute to pollination indirectly through their foraging activities. As they visit each flower, their fuzzy bodies pick up and deposit pollen, which they store in pollen baskets on their legs. 

    How to Identify a Buff-Tailed Bumblebee

    Identifying characteristics of buff-tailed bumblebees include mostly black bodies with an orange stripe on the front of the thorax and abdomen. A large portion of their bodies are covered in fur, which is often characterized as fuzzy, while the ends of their abdomens are covered in white fur.

    It is also possible to identify them by their size, with worker buff-tailed bumblebees measuring 11 to 17 millimeters in length, drone bees measuring 14 to 16 millimeters, and queens measuring up to 22 millimeters. 

    As with all bees, buff-tailed bumblebees have three body segments: the head, the thorax, and the abdomen. It has six segmented legs, two antennae on its head, and a pair of wings on its thorax. 

    buff-tailed bumblebee - Bombus terrestris pollinating a yellow flower

    Buff-tailed bumblebees, or Bombus terrestris, can be found across Europe in temperate climates [2]. Nests of buff-tailed bumblebees are typically built underground in existing cavities, such as abandoned mouse nests. 

    A buff-tailed bumblebee is also used as a greenhouse pollinator in many places, and is considered invasive in areas where it has escaped. These places include Chile, Argentina, Japan, and Tasmania. 

    How to Identify a Common Carder Bee

    It is easy to identify a common carder bee by its thorax, which is dark reddish-brown to yellowish in color. Moreover, the abdomen of a common carder bee is dark gray, with a reddish-brown or yellow color at the end. 

    As with all bees, common carder bees have heads, thoraxes, and abdomens. Queen bees can grow to 18 millimeters in length, while workers and drones can reach 14 or 15 millimeters. 

    Identifying a common carder bee is also possible by its nest, which typically has a diameter of 15-20 centimeters and resembles a sphere of moss, grass, and wax. It is possible to observe nests in the early spring until the end of September.

    A common carder bee collecting nectar and pollen from a flower

    Common carder bee nests are found in existing cavities such as leftover mouse nests or bird nests, and may be underground or above ground.

    Common carder bees, or Bombus pascuorum, are widespread throughout Europe[3]. It is possible to find them both in wide-open fields or pastures as well as in urban settings. 

    How to Identify a Tree Bumblebee

    You can identify a tree bumblebee by its light brownish-yellow thorax and white fur on the abdomen. The entire body of the tree bumblebee is covered in hair, which facilitates pollination. Typically, the rest of their bodies are black in color. Their wings are translucent and brownish in color.

    As with all bees, tree bumblebees have a head, thorax, and abdomen. They have six segmented legs and two antennae on their heads, along with a pair of wings attached to their thoraxes. 

    The worker tree bumblebee is smaller than the drone tree bumblebee, while the queen tree bumblebee is the largest. 

    Tree bumblebees using an old nest box that was last used by Wrens

    Tree bumblebees, or Bombus Hypnorum, are common in mainland Europe and Asia. [4] It is also found in the United Kingdom and Iceland.

    Tree bumblebees nest above ground and often occupy old bird boxes or other existing cavities above ground. They like to live in forests to build nests in trees, but they will also live near or in human homes. 

    How to Identify a Red-Tailed Bumblebee

    Red-tailed bumblebees can be identified by their black and furry abdomens with red markings. In addition, red-tailed bumblebees may have light yellow to gray markings on their thorax and head. The light yellow markings are usually found only on males, and females are more black in color. 

    Close up on a queen red-tailed bumblebee

    It may also assist in identifying the red-tailed bumblebee if you are able to distinguish its nest. Typically, they nest underground in cavities that rodents and other insects have left behind in open lands such as pastures and meadows. 

    Red-tailed bumblebees, or Bombus Lapidarius, are found in Central Europe.[5]


    [1] Wikipedia [2] Wikipedia [3] Wikipedia [4] Wikipedia [5] Wikipedia 

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