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Red-tailed cuckoo bumblebee?

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Joined 2017-07-14

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Hello to everyone.

This is my first post to these forums and I’m a complete novice regarding bees. However I saw the pictured bee in our garden today and after looking through this site I was wondering if anyone could confirm whether this bee is, in fact, a female Red-tailed cuckoo bumblebee? If it is, is it common to find them on the East Coast of Yorkshire (Scarborough)? I have never seen this type in our garden before.

The body colour was black and it had an orange tail.

Thanks in advance for any help.

     

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Total Posts: 338

Joined 2013-01-10

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Hello NickB,  Welcome to the forum.
Cuckoo bumbles are fascinating - lucky you to have seen one!

Bombus rupestris cuckoos are parasitic in the nests of their hosts Bombus lapidarius [Red-tailed Bumbles].  They only have males and females - no workers - because its their hosts workers that raise the cuckoo young.  Well I’ve been lucky to see B. rupestris males several times, but only once have I see a female - and they are large and very impressive - [and I would say look very much like your pic!]  They are black and shiny, with a red tail and dark wings.  They have hairy back legs and no pollen baskets. Do you have any other pics?
I’m in VC 55 [Leics & Rutland] so I don’t know what you get in the Scarborough area. Maybe someone else on the forum can help you with this information.  Urbanbumble

     
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Total Posts: 3

Joined 2017-07-14

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Hello urbanbumble.

Thank you so much for the reply. I had no idea Cuckoo bumbles even existed until yesterday! Fascinating creatures.

I have put links below to the other pictures I took. Just copy and paste to your browser. I hope they work. If not just let me know and I’ll think of another way. Thanks again.

https://imgsnap.com/image/n58
https://imgsnap.com/image/n5y
https://imgsnap.com/image/n5s
https://imgsnap.com/image/n5j
https://imgsnap.com/image/n5e
https://imgsnap.com/image/n5J
https://imgsnap.com/image/n5I
https://imgsnap.com/image/n5r
https://imgsnap.com/image/n5u

     
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Joined 2013-01-10

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Hi NickB,
Thanks for showing me your other pics - a very impressive female B. rupestris cuckoo.  She will now feed up to put on body weight prior to going into hibernation until next year.  Shows the hairy back legs without pollen baskets; and the dark wings.  and I think she is carrying one of the little reddish mites that cadge a lift on the bumble as she goes between flowers?
Keep watching - you may spot a male.  I saw one yesterday when out on a bumble hunt.
Urbanbumble

     
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Joined 2017-07-14

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Hello, again urbanbumble.

Glad you liked the pics. I’ll have to scour them a bit more carefully now to try and find the mite. I’ll certainly keep my eyes open for the males.

Thanks and good bumble hunting!