bumblebees


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To the Dutch website / Naar de Nederlandse website.Nederlands / Dutch

                                                                  Bumblebees

Bumblebees belong to the order Hymenoptera. The other insects, which belong to this order, are bees, wasps, ants and saw flies (Symphytae). 

 

Bumblebees

Big hairy bees of the genus Bombus. They live in colonies. Only the queen hibernates and starts a new colony next year. The nest is sometimes underground, but can also be built between clumps of grass.
The larvae feed on pollen and nectar. The pollen are collected in the pollen basket or corbicula on the hind  legs. 
The males  have long antennae. Besides the queen and males there are also workers. (Not so many as in the colonies of honey bees)

I haven't described al possible colours. On this site you can get much more information:  http://www.nhm.ac.uk/

Large Earth Bumblebee, Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris).

Large Earth Bumblebee, Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris).

The Buff-tailed Bumblebee is in the Netherlands very similar to the white-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lucorum), the rarer Bombus magnus and the rarer Bombus cryptarum. Queens and workers with a small brown yellow collar on the front edge of the thorax are easiest to identify as Buff-tailed Bumblebee. If the collar is broader, it is more difficult. Males are the most difficult to identify.
Collar and second segment of the abdomen are orange or golden yellow. Point abdomen is white. 
Queen Length 20 to 28 mm, worker 11-17 mm length and length male 14-16 mm.

Nest in the ground. It may be more than one meters below the ground.
The large earth bumblebees are among the first bumble bees to appear in spring. Queens: late February, early March.
Large Earth Bumblebee, Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris). Large Earth Bumblebee, Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris).  Photos 21-3-2014.
German: Dunkle Erdhummel. French: Bourdon terrestre.

Garden Bumblebee (Bombus hortorum)

Garden Bumblebee (Bombus hortorum). Photo 2-4-2010 queen.

The Garden Bumblebee is rather similar to the Large Earth Bumblebee. The main difference is the band behind with yellow hairs. The band is as well on the abdomen as on the back of the thorax. Divided in two bands.  
Garden bumblebees have the longest tongue. It can forage on flowers that have deep corollas like the mint family and the legume family, pea family.
Nest on the ground or undergrounds. For example in mice nests and bird nests. About up tot 100 bumblebees.
Length queen 18-26 mm, length workers 11-16 mm, length male 13-15 mm.
Flight: March - September

Garden Bumblebee (Bombus hortorum). male Photo 14-6-09. A male German: Gartenhummel French: Le Bourbon des jardins

Red-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius)

Red-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius).

The Red-tailed bumblebee is almost as large as the Large Earth Bumblebee.
It is mainly black with a  red tail. Males, workers and queen have a similar colour pattern.

In the colony are about 100 to 200 bumblebees. The nest is either underground (eg old mice nests) and overground (eg birdhouses) found.

German: Steinhummel French: Bourdon des pierres

 Red-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius)  Red-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius) Photos 21-3-2010. Queen

White-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lucorum)

White-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lucorum).

Pale yellow collar and second abdominable segment. Black first abdominal segment and scutellum.  Black hairs often have white tips. (as on this photo)
Queen Length 19 - 22 mm, length male 13 - 16 mm.
Flight: March to October. Like the Large Earth Bumblebee it is an early bumblebee.
Nest in the ground.

  White-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lucorum)

German: Hellen / helle Erdhummel 

Common Carder Bee  (Bombus pascuorum)

Common Carder Bee (Bombus pascuorum).

The thorax is orange brown. The abdomen is black with a orange brown dot.
On this photo the end of the abdomen is not visible. When it has a white-ended abdomen, it is the tree bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum).
Queen: Length 15 - 18 mm, length male 12 - 14 mm, length worker 9 - 15 mm.
Flight: April to October.
Nest on or in the ground. Also in bird nests.

  Common Carder Bee  (Bombus pascuorum)   Common Carder Bee  (Bombus pascuorum) Photos 9-4-2010. Common Carder Bee, queen

German: Ackerhummel  French: Bourdon des champs

New garden bumblebee, tree bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

New garden bumblebee, tree bumblebee ( Bombus hypnorum).

The thorax is orange brown. The abdomen is black with a white dot.
Length queen 18 to 22 mm, length male 14 to 16 mm, length daily 8 to 18 mm.
Flight: April to August. (Queens February to late April, workers in April to mid-August, young queens and males in May to late August)
Nest above the ground. In many holes, in bird nests in nest boxes. 80-400 workers.

Most of Europe and parts of Eastern Asia.

 New garden bumblebee, tree bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)  New garden bumblebee, tree bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum) Photos 30-4-2010. Only the left picture is sharp. It was moving constantly.

German: Baumhummel  French: Bourdon des arbres

Early Bumblebee (Bombus pratorum)

Early Bumblebee (Bombus pratorum).

A small bumblebee.
Collar yellow. The tail is orange red. The yellow bar in the middle of the abdomen can be absent or reduced to a few hairs.
It has a short tongue.
Flying time: March to October. Not as early as the Large Earth Bumblebee.
Queen Length 15 - 17 mm, length male 11 - 13 mm.

The nest can be in the ground and above the ground. It also can be found. in mice nests, birdhouses and bird nests

 Early Bumblebee (Bombus pratorum)  Early Bumblebee (Bombus pratorum)

German: Wiesenhummel:  

Bombus bohemicus (Probably, I am not quite sure)

Cuckoo Bumblebees belong to the sub genus Psithyrus. The females lay their eggs in a bumblebee nest. She kills host eggs, larvae and oft the queen. The cuckoo bumblebee larvae develop into pupae and adults in the nest. So they are parasitic bumblebees. They lack the pollen baskets on the legs

Bombus bohemicus. Probably, I am not quite sure.

Similar species are  Bombus vestalis and  Bombus norvegicus.
A yellow collar. Point abdomen is white.
A parasite of  the White-tailed bumblebee
(Bombus lucorum) But also of other bumblebee species.
March - September 
Length female 14 - 20 mm, male 12 - 18 mm

 Bombus bohemicus (Probably, I am not quite sure)  Bombus bohemicus (Probably, I am not quite sure) Photos 14-4-2010,  female      German: Angebundene Kuckuckshummel

Vestal cuckoo bee (Bombus vestalis)

Another Cuckoo Bumblebee

Vestal cuckoo bee (Bombus vestalis). I am not quite sure.

A black bumblebee with a brown yellow collar. The last segments have white hairs, often with some yellow hairs.
A parasite of Bombus terresttris.
Length female 20 - 24 mm, length male 15 - 19 mm. Of course there are no workers.
March - September

German: Keusche Kuckuckshummel

 Vestal cuckoo bee (Bombus vestalis)  Vestal cuckoo bee (Bombus vestalis)  Vestal cuckoo bee (Bombus vestalis) Photos 17-4-2010.  Female

A beautiful site with much information:   The Garden Safari 
Vliegen en Muggen van J.A. van Erkelens  A site about flies with many beautiful photos of Joke van Erkelens.
Informatie about flies: 
http://www.diptera.info/news.php
Informatie about wasps and bees:  http://www.forum.hymis.de    Another site with information: http://www.bwars.com/Gallery.htm

I want to thank everyone, who has helped me on waarneming.nl and forum.hymis.de to identify. 

 Nederlands / Dutch                                                                                    

English!!  Garden, plants:    Animals, insects in the garden:               Dutch dunes, countries:  
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Subpage wasps, bees, bumblebees: Parasitica, Ichneumonidae   Sawflies symphyta
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