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Another cuckoo question

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Joined 2014-04-28

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Having searched the website and come to a conclusion that this large bumble bee is probably a female Bombus sylvestris, please could someone confirm this, if it is possible to do so from the photo. Yes a good ID book on site is ideal, we are only just getting into bee identification.

     

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Total Posts: 101

Joined 2012-05-31

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Gorgeous photo.
You are absolutely right about her being a cuckoo bumblebee.
The size and dark wings are a giveaway and her hairy narrow hind legs- cuckoo females don’t have a pollen basket as they don’t do any work for the colony!

It is difficult at times to ID cuckoo species from photos.
It is difficult to see the colour of the tail very well- if there is some yellow present in the tail then she could be a Bombus bohemicus or a Bombus vestalis.
If the tail is clean white with a obvious V-shaped notch in the top of it then she is likely to be a Forest cuckoo Bombus sylvestris as you have suggested.
The Forest cuckoo bees are fairly common and tend to attack the nest of Bombus pratorum (Early bumblebee).

So sorry for all the ‘hedging my bets’- it’s just the nature of photos really. In the hand it would be easier.
I hope someone else can be more definitive,
elaine

     
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Thank you for your reply Elaine. I looked to see if any of the other photos I had taken of this bee showed more detail of its tail, but probably not, but I have posted another photo anyway.

     

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Another great photo.
Better view of the tail. You can see the strong yellow flash at the top of the white tail.
Most likely to be a Southern cuckoo bee Bombus vestalis.

Well done.