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The Tree Bumblebee - B. hypnorum

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Clive - 26 June 2012 01:15 PM

lemon juice and bicarbonate etc may be a folk medicine, so have good placebo effects, but the active materials in bee stings are proteins, so not grossly affected.

Many thanks Clive. Very tactfully put!

Best wishes Karen

     
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Can anyone tell me if the mated new queens hibernate in roof spaces over the winter? If they do will they make a new nest in there next year? If not where do they go to hibernate?

Thanks all.

     
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Hi Alibumble,

The most basic answer is that we don’t really know yet because B. hypnorum is so new in the UK: but bumblebee queens in general are known to hibernate (strictly aestivate) in the ground, or in leaf-litter etc usually in a sun-sheltered place like a north facing slope.
Waking is supposed to link with a soil temperature trigger - see Prys Jones & Corbet’s book.
They dig themselves a little ‘walnut sized chamber’ and go to sleep.

Alford’s big book, Bumblebees, which has recently been re-published in facsimile form has quite a bit about this - but the re-print has left out some of the photos, beacuse they were deemed to be of poor quality.

Hibernating queens have also been found in flowerpots - and there was & should be a lovely picture in the BBCT Photo Gallery of a bee in a flowerpot.

Personally I wouldn’t be surprised if hypnorum got over to the UK as hibernating queens in pots of plants brought over from Holland, where the horticultural industry is huge ...... but that is only just a guess.

I suspect that one of the survival needs of a hibernating queen would be humidity: and that house loft-spaces would be too dry - but I find lots of hibernating queen wasps in my loft every year - and some of them do wake-up again in the spring.

I hope this sets you thinking further !

Clive

     
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Thanks so much for your fascinating reply Clive. It certainly does make me think.

You are very knowledgeable are you self taught Clive?

Thanks again.

     
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Hi Alibumble,

I got interested in honey bees back in the 1970s, so have been a beekeeper since ~1975: and later took some BBKA exams, which took my school Biology know-how on insects to a deeper level. 
I was scared of bumbles for many years after that - such a big bee must pack an even bigger sting-punch I thought, but now know much better. 

Then ~9 years ago my BKA had a wonderful lecture about BBs from Dr Juliet Osborne, of Rothamsted Research and it lit a spark.
I was writing up the Talks for the BKA Newsletter, and went to town with that one - a good many pages long !

Some while later BBCT was formed and Juliet told me about it. So I joined and have been trying to help since.

So I’m self-taught, but have an Industrial scientific background: and tend to spend money on books that look interesting, then read them years later - so perhaps I’m well read too - but I can’t remember too much detail these days - but do know where to look !

If you, or anyone else is interested I could send you the Write-up I did of Juliet’s Talk, it gives a pretty good overview.

How about you, you seem very active on this forum !

Cheers

Clive

     
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aha! so that’s what it was….cheers. smile

This is the only sighting I’ve had of a tree bumblebee (East Midlands), taken on 31/7/12

     

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Hello

I’ve been reading all the discussion and was also hoping on some advice. We have recently moved into a new home in a woodland area (lots of trees around our home). After the first couple of days I noticed a few bees (I thought they were originally wasps) going in and out of a small crack in the brickwork about our porch door where the mortar has worn away. Over the next few days there were several in and out. Having looked online I assumed these May be mortar bees and wondered if they could cause any damage to the house at all? They seem to have disappeared lately but a few make an appearance on warm sunny days ( the front part of the house gets a lot of sun).

On a separate note I have now noticed only recently several bees going in and out of a small gap in the fascia in one corner of the roof. I went up the loft to have a look and couldn’t see or hear anything at all. Pick am not sure what type of bee they are and it’s very hard t get a photo as they are quite high up and constantly moving. They are big and furry though. Watching them out of the upstairs window there are several that fly around outside the corner of the house and a few that come and go through the crack. Originally there were just a few, but there seem to be quite a lot now. What I was wondering is if anyone knew what type of bee they are and if their nest is likely to be new or old? I was also looking to get the fascia replaced at some point as it is old and wooden and not in the best of condition but I may leave it if it disturbs them. I was also wondering if the nest is likely to return after the summer or when it is likely to die down so we could consider replacing the fascia.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks a lot