What an amazing sequence and I’m so glad the Early bee survived
I have seen Bees attack each other but this was before I could tell the difference between each species. I can remember many years ago I saw a large Queen being attacked by 3 other bees, they were all rolling about on the lawn and if I remember rightly the Queen didn’t survive. She may have been a Bombus Lucorum but I couldn’t tell you if the others were cuckoos or not.
It’ll be interesting to hear Anthony’s theory
just to follow up on this topic.
One of the strategies that male bumblebees employ to attract females is a sort of territorial patrolling behaviour.
They tend to chose a linear path following tall vegetation and faithfully patrol this area in the hope of attracting an unsuspecting female. On their way they scent-mark certain leaves which is very attractive to the females.
Anthony thinks that this Early bumblebee was possibly scent-marking this leaf when the Forest-cuckoo bee got too close, maybe because their territories overlapped a little.
It is also interesting to see these two species interact as the Early bumblebee is one of the host species of the Forest-cuckoo bee!