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Wanted : Observations about the types of flowers the Tree Bumblebee visits

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A Citizen Science Request for Forum Users !

Over the last few years I’ve been noting down the types of flowers I’ve seen the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)  visiting.  So far I’ve got a total of 53 types - which I’ve listed below.

Please would you take a look at my list and let me (and other readers) know if you see this type of bumblebee visiting any other sorts of flower. 

It would also be useful, if you could say if the bee was using the flower to collect nectar or Pollen, or both. 

Yours hopefully !                Clive

PS.  The photo shows a Tree Bumblebee queen visiting a Prunus bush for nectar.

Here’s my present list of Tree Bumblebee Flowers :-

Apple
Aquilegia
Blackberry - cultivated
Blackberry - wild
Blackcurrant
Bluebell
Berberis - Orange flowered form - B. darwinii
Burdock
Buttercup
Campanula portenschlagiana (muralis)
Campanula ?pusilla
Cherry
Chives
Choisya ternata
Clover - White
Ceanothus
Clematis macropetalata
Comfrey
Cotoneaster horizontalis
Cotoneaster ?microphylla open flowered white
Crocus
Daffodil - Tete-a-Tete
Dandelion
Deutzia - White flowered garden shrub
Elaeagnus - shrub
Escallonia
Flowering Currant
Fuschia
Geranium - Large Blue flowered garden
Globe Thistle
Goat Willow - Male catkins
        Ditto -  Female catkins
Gooseberry
Green Alkanet - Pentaglottis sempervirens
Heather - Winter Erica carnea
Honeysuckle
Hyacinth - potted
Hydrangea petiolaris
Jostaberry
Lambs Ears
Lavender
Lime tree
Lungwort - Pulmonaria
Mahonia
Mallow
Marjoram
Plum - Prunus
Raspberry - Summer fruiting
Raspberry - Autumn fruiting
Rose
Snowberry
Soapwort - Saponaria
Thistle
Vipers Bugloss
Wigelia / Diervilla - Pink flowered shrub
Woody Nightshade[/size]

     

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Clive

Your list is certainly varied and wide ranging - I think it shows one reason why B.hypnorum is spreading so successfully throughout Britain.
It will do well in our gardens; a wide variety of flowering plants and plenty of bird boxes !

Kevin

     
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Hi Clive,
So far this year, I’ve seen Bombus hypnorum queens foraging Lesser Celandine and honeysuckle [Lonicera purpusei].  I’ll do a trawl through previous years and see what else there is.
urbanbumble

     
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Hi Clive again,
I have looked back as far as 2011.  My foraging list for B. hyp. also includes:- various Comfreys [flower colour - purple; pink; blue & white].  I even saw a B. hyp doing a bit of opportunistic secondary robbery of purple comfrey flowers.  I assume it was using a hole bitten in the corolla by a B. terrestris??
Geranium - pink flowers [G. endresii[?]; Geranium phaeum;  Geranium Mrs Kendall-Clark;  Marjoram; Teasel;  Verbascum;  Purple Loosestrife;  B.hyp.taking pollen from Welsh poppies;  Euphorbia sp.; Viola in hanging basket; Agastache;  Erysimum Bowles Purple - it flowers for ever!;  Buddleia Weyeriana; Green Alkanet; and Lavender.

Don’t forget that BWARS are running an ongoing B. hyp. survey too.
urbanbumble

     
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I’d like to add Pieris.  All the BBs out so far seem to love the white bell like flowers. Don’t know which variety it is but it’s buzzing.

     
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Many Thanks for your feedback so far.

You are expanding my list fast !

Round where I live there are a good few Norwegian Maple trees in full flower and being worked by honey bees plus bumblebees of several different sizes.  They’ve been too high up to identify so far, but I’m pretty sure that B. hypnorum is amongst them. 
(Must take some Feld Glasses next time !)
There is also Pear Blossom out; and Blackthorn, both of which should be fine for them, but again I’ve not spotted them on them yet.

I’ll keep you posted.  Meanwhile, please keep looking !

Clive

     
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Hi Clive,
Friday, lovely sunny day.  Saw at least three Bombus hypnorum workers foraging the cordon apples; also the nearby green alkanet. The workers were quite small in size compared to the queens I’ve seen earlier.
urbanbumble

     
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Hi Urbanbumble,

Many thanks for your observations.
Yes, I’ve seen them foraging on both these flower types in past seasons - but not yet this year.

In the last few weeks I’ve seen the queens foraging on the lovely orange flowers of Berberis darwinii; the semi-double flowers of a “columnar profile” flowering cherry; on edible Cherry; on Blackcurrant; on “Gone to flower” Purple Sprouting Broccoli (So they must work Oilseed rape too.); and a worker on Rosemary flowers.
These last two are new to my list.

I’d be surprised if they didn’t work Laurel flowers and Pear flowers too - but I’ve not seen them working them yet.

Yours     Clive

     
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Hi All,

Worker Tree Bumblebees are now getting quite common, so we should soon be able to add to the main list above.

A non-BBCT correspondent recently told me she has a variegated Holly bush in her garden and the flowers are being worked avidly by Tree Bumblebee workers.

Please keep adding your Flower Type visited notes to this thread !

Clive

     
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Hi Clive
Saw my first Tree BB worker on 20 May and it was on my Hawthorne flowers. Tried to take a photo but it flew higher up. I can’t see Hawthorne in your list so thought I’d post a reply.

Whilst looking for it, I saw another type of bee which I managed to snap. Haven’t identified it yet.

Adoxa

     
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Here’s another one for your list Clive,

Herb Robert - Geranium robertianum.  One bumble was giving this a good going over, others were busy as usual on the green alkanet.
urbanbumble

     
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Thanks Urbanbumble,

I’m in a late to bed mad rush, but yes,  I’ve seen them on herb Robert too in the last few days.

Also on Chives, Strawberry, Buttercup, Grounsel, Geranium, Tree Lupin and Escallonia amongst others.

There are a lot of B. hypnorum drones foraging at present and they seem to be quite adventurous with their forage !

Clive

     
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Hi Clive,
Saw B. hyp. using Rhododendron [purple] & Nectaroscordon at the Botanic Garden on Sunday.  At home, they are foraging so many different flowers, especially green alkanet, which has rather taken over one of my little veg plots and the problem is - do I clear it out to plant my beans, or leave it for the bumbles to forage and plant the beans in between and let them climb all over it - a bit of companion planting?  I won’t mind if it acts like a deterrent and the slugs can’t find the beans to coppice!

Thanks so much for writing your Bombus hypnorum article! Where would we be without using it as a reference when helping with all the B. hypnorum enquiries over and over again!  2014 definitely seems to be the year of the Bombus hypnorum!
urbanbumble

     
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Hi Clive,

Tree bumble’s here on Phacelia yellow and purple varieties, Cosmos and Knapweed too. grin

     
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I’ve also seen tree bumblebees on Linaria purpuria and more recently a Kniphophia I have (not sure which species).  The latter is a bit of a challenge for them as the larger ones struggle to get their thoraxes far enough up the flower tubes - all you can see of the smaller bees is their abdomens poking out.

     
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Another one:-  Valerian
urbanbumble