Bumblebee on primroses, March 2023 (photo: George Ashton)
To learn about BeeWalking, or counting bees for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BCT), click on this link to our blog by Liz Gibbs: http://northcurrywildlife.blogspot.com/2019/02/beewalking-not-like-dog-walking_47.html
For help with bumblebee identification, go to the helpful pages on the BCT site: https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/identify-a-bumblebee
Bee Life Cycle By Liz Gibbs
In spring, the queen emerges from hibernation and starts her own colony. The female workers are produced and they begin foraging, feeding the larvae and looking after the queen. Later, the queen lays unfertilised eggs which are the males, and as they hatch they eat the stores of honey but don’t forage to replace it and generally have a good time! At this point, the queen may die or lose her influence so the males then emerge to mate with a new queen as she herself starts to fly.
This is Bombus lapidarius or the Red-tailed Bumblebee observed mating at the White Street cricket field. The queen is by far the larger and at first sight doesn’t look like the same species as the male with his fluffy yellow head and thorax. The whole business took about ten minutes.
Pair of Red-tailed Bumblebees mating (photo: Liz Gibbs)
Another pair of mating bumblebees are these Tree Bumblebees (Bombus hypnorum). Again, the female is much larger than the male.
Mating pair of Tree Bumblebees (photo: Sue Ashton)