Sunday, 11 June 2017

Bee of the week - Early bumblebee

Despite its name, the early bumblebee (Bombus pratorum) is not the earliest to emerge but it does have a short season.  It is the first to disappear, although it may produce a second generation.  At the moment there are lots of males and new queens around.  As with other bumblebees, the males and workers will all die off, leaving the new queens to hibernate until next spring.

Queens are the largest but are smaller than other bumblebees.

Workers are small and some look too tiny to be bumblebees.

The males have a wide yellow collar and a yellow face.

Like most bumblebees they are not easy to photograph as they spend most of their time head down in flowers.  It is easier when they are on the outside.

This is the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) identification chart and distribution map.

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