Welcome guest, please Login or Register

Welcome to BBCT Forum Home

You are here: HomeForum Home → Bumblebee forums → Bumblebee nests → Thread

   

B lapidarius nest

Rank

Total Posts: 15

Joined 2012-08-21

PM

I was lucky to come across a nest of B lapidarius/Red-tailed Bumblebee earlier on June 2nd in the Lee Valley Park. North of London.
The opening faces west and was in a flat grass border adjacent to a wooded area. I had noticed a bumblebee flying in a zig-zag fashion about two feet off the ground in an area where there were no flowers/food source. I watched and waited. After a minute, or less, it landed on the ground and ‘disappeared’.
I carefully looked on the ground where I had last seen it and found a hole. See the first two pictures.

Twelve days later I returned to find the entrance considerably enlarged. See third picture.

I also noticed that the soil, which had a friable consistency in some exposed earth close to the nest, had been compacted at the entrance and ‘cemented’ with some substance so that it was no longer friable and could not therefore fall back into the hole. Returning the following day after some rain I noticed that this soil at the entrance was still intact despite the rain. I wonder what it is that they use that is water-proof and sticks the soil particles together. Could it simply be saliva? Do bumblebees collect resin from trees like honeybees? Fascinated to know more! Anyone know?!

vicbee

     

Image Attachments

IMG_0048.JPGIMG_0052.JPG_DSC0146.JPG

Click thumbnail to see full-size image

RankRankRankRank

Total Posts: 271

Joined 2012-05-24

PM

Hi vicbee,

Congratulations on your find !

I had a B. pascuorum colony that had set up home in some long mossy grass in my garden a year or two back.
I never saw them working on the nest dome, but over a few weeks it grew considerably - from half small tennis ball to half grapefruit.
I’m convinced that the work was all done from the inside of the dome.
They also made themselves a “landing cavern” in the moss close by; and I saw them trimming grass leaves that were in the way.

Yes, BBs seem to firm the soil in their entrance passageway, but I don’t know how, it might just be traffic compaction, like us humans wearing a path in the grass.

I hope this helps.          Clive

     
Rank

Total Posts: 15

Joined 2012-08-21

PM

Hi Clive,

Thanks for your comments and interesting observations of your pascuorum nest. Yes, I do feel very fortunate in finding it.
I found it fascinating to see a worker locating a hole in the ground just big enough for the bee plus pollen load to enter and then watch them emerge ‘empty’ sometime later!

vicbee

     
RankRankRankRank

Total Posts: 271

Joined 2012-05-24

PM

Hi vicbee,

Some years back I saw some B. lapidarius workers going into a crack in a lawn - there was no sign of a proper entrance.
Enterprising things bees !

Clive