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What kind is this please

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Sorry it’s a bit blurry, she was too busy to stop and pose for a photo. She had huge pollen thingies on her legs.

Thanks
Pat

     

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Joined 2012-05-24

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Hi pat362,

Your photo shows a Garden bumblebee, Bombus hortorum.
It commonly works Aquilegia flowers, going in from the open end of the flower and using it’s extremely long tongue to reach the nectar up at the top of the flowers.
There are three yellow bands, two on the thorax (one at front, one at back) and a third band on the front part of the abdomen - but you often have to be sharp-eyed to spot it.  And a white tail of course.

See if you can get a picture showing the bee’s face - it should be long and horse-like.

There is a similarly coloured smaller species, the Heath bumblebee B. jonellus, but this has a short tongue, so wouldn’t work an Aquilegia flower from the bottom like this, but I guess may rob the flowers by “floral larceny”.

I hope this helps !          Clive

     
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Very many thanks for the detailed reply, Clive. There are always bumblebees on these flowers so I might be able to get more photos.  Before I joined this forum I just thought a bumblebee was a bumblebee, so this is all very interesting. Thanks!

Pat

     
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Hi Pat,
Clive is right, long-tongued Bombus hortorum bumbles love aquilegias and are able to pollinate them properly because their tongues reach the nectar in the flower spurs [a bribe by the flower] so that pollen is then deposited on their backs from the anthers.  Aquilegias seed all over the place and cross-pollination between different aquilegias results in the wide range of flower colours around the garden - purple, pink, white etc.  Keep watch too for the other short-tongued bumbles [such as Bombus terrestris] that can’t reach the nectar other than by taking sneaky bites out of the spurs to rob the nectar, thus bypassing the pollination process altogether.  Look at the flower spurs and if they look wrinkled, then the robbers have been busy.
urbanbumble

     
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Thank you, urbanbumble smile I’ll look when I go back out!

Pat

     
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Joined 2012-08-24

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Do you know….I was wondering if the bumble visiting my aquilegias was horturum….they climbed inside the flowers so I didn’t see the tongue until the other day…and yes…it is very long…there was one little lady flying around with her tongue hanging out! :D