11th August 2015

Red-tailed Bumblebee– This is a fairly common Bumblebee, and we have had a lot of workers in the garden lately, especially on the Knapweed and Allium. The Queen, which emerges to feed in spring, is bigger, and has a black body and red-orange tail, while the male workers, out gathering food now, are small, with two yellow bands on the thorax and a bright orangish tail. These Bumblebees have quite short probosces so can’t feed on flowers with long tubes and prefer flowers with good landing platforms which they can walk around on.  They only collect nectar as they have no pollen baskets. Different tongue lengths and feeding habits allow different bees to exploit different food-sources, a bit like waders exploit different foods in estuarine mud. Conditions: Cloud with sunny intervals. Temperature: Max 20- Min 13 c

Though small, the worker Red-tailed Bumblebee shows up brightly at this time of year

Though small, the worker Red-tailed Bumblebee shows up brightly at this time of year

The worker bee has amber stripes on its thorax.

The worker bee has amber stripes on its thorax.

The Queen Red-tailed Bumblebee is larger and darker and emerges in spring

The Queen Red-tailed Bumblebee is larger and darker and emerges in spring

Worker Red-tailed Bumblebees speed from plant to plant, gathering nectar

Worker Red-tailed Bumblebees speed from plant to plant, gathering nectar

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2 thoughts on “11th August 2015

  1. Glad you are enjoying it all and I enjoy your comments. Yes, interesting, especially as Leafcutter the other day has no pollen baskets but specially adapted hairs under body to collect pollen. Fascinating stuff.

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