Bumble Bees which can also be called humble-bee, common name for any member of the insect tribe Bombini (family Apidae, order Hymenoptera). These bees occur over much of the planet but are commonest in temperate climates.
They’re absent from most of Africa and therefore the lowlands of India and are introduced to Australia and New Zealand. To assist within the pollination of varied flowering plants.
Most authorities recognize two genera: Bombus, the nest-building bumblebees, and Psithyrus, the parasitic bumblebees. Certain species are sometimes assigned to a 3rd genus, Bombias.
About 19 species of Bombus and 6 species of Psithyrus occur in Great Britain. About 50 species of Bombus, also as some Psithyrus species, are found in North America.
Bumble Bees are robust and hairy, average about 1.5 to 2.5 cm (about 0.6 to 1 inch) long, and are usually black with broad yellow or orange bands. They often nest within the ground, commonly in deserted bird or mouse nests.
Bumble Bees Species
Bombus species are social bees; i.e., they sleep in organized groups. Each nest features a queen, drones (males), and workers. Psithyrus species, having no worker caste, enter Bombus nests to get their eggs, which are then cared for by Bombus workers.
The resemblance between a Psithyrus species and therefore the Bombus species it parasitizes is usually remarkable. British species P. vestalis sometimes stings the Bombus queen to death. There are then no Bombus larvae produced to compete with the parasitic Psithyrus larvae for the eye of the workers.
Bumble Bees Queen
The Bombus queen lays her eggs within the nest after spending the winter in hibernation. Bumbus primary brood generally develops into four to eight worker bees. Shortly after emerging as adults, these workers take over from the queen the duties of collecting pollen and caring for the hive.
The queen then retires to a lifetime of laying. For a short time, only worker progeny is produced, and therefore the colony grows until it contains 50 to 600 bees. In late summer, with the massive population of workers bringing in abundant food, males and new queens are produced.
Although some males develop from unfertilized eggs laid by the queen, most hatch from eggs laid by workers. In early fall the queen stops laying eggs, and therefore the colony, including the queen, gradually dies out. During this era, the larvae of certain moths and beetles feed on the remaining eggs and larvae within the nest.
The next season’s queens have developed from eggs laid late within the season. And the longer-term queens, when adult, leave the nest, mate, and find a sheltered place during which to hibernate for the winter. While the lone queens then start new nests within the following spring.