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Ronnie Carleton 2014

Research project
This year I woul li!e "#ULTS an C$IL#RE% to help with a research
project in the U&' Irelan an Europe startin( in )une throu(h to "u(ust
an recor all *u+*le*ees they see' where an when, -hat I a+ loo!in(
.or is *u+*le*ee species locations, I. you .eel you want to ta!e part then
recor the species o. *u+*le *e i. you can' type o. ha*itat' +onth'
weather conitions an ti+e o. ay, -ith this I will re/uire the county or
place an i. at all possi*le a +ap re. nu+*er, Below is an I# chart as
well as +ore notes on *u+*le*ees in the U&' Irelan an Europe,
BUMBLE BEES are much more hairy than wasps and only the Queen's and
workers can sting. Male bumblebees are harmless. They eed the bee grubs on
insect prey but eed themsel!es on nectar and pollen. E!en with their bright
colours bumblebees are at times hard to "# in the ield because their !ary in
their body band colouring. $ome spring it will only be ertilised %ueens that will
ha!e sur!i!ed the winter and will seek out a new nest area in which to li!e and
breed. True bumble bees make nests in grass& holes in banks or in the ground
with colonies ranging rom '( to '(( workers and look or early pollen on
lowers and pollen bearing trees. )orkers and %ueens ha!e pollen baskets on
their back legs* yellow in colour and with body hairs on the body are the irst
bees to be seen at the end o winter.
" ha!e made small bumblebee nest bo+es that ha!e a single nest hole or them to
enter and lined with dry grass or hair. The lid can be lited o and a !iew made
through a glass !iewer. These bumblebee bo+es are easy to make and are small.
,t the moment " ha!e placed -( out beore the end o this winter in gardens&
small wooded hedgerows and e!en up a mountain. Use rough timber that has
nothing to+ic on it and ne!er paint the bee bo+es. The bottom o the bo+ needs to
be raised so that damp cannot seep into the loor.
.or this research " ha!e listed the species that " know here in the U/ and
Europe. Beore that a short biology note on bumble bees that may help.
B"0L012. Large and !ery hairy social bees and the eyes do not reach down to
the 3aws. Each spring colonies are established with mated Queens that ha!e
sur!i!ed a winter. The nests " ha!e ound ha!e been 4(5 under the ground&
oten in old disused mouse and !ole holes& at the base o tall grasses open to good
sunshine. The nest is a ball o grass or moss& something you should remember i
you make and put out bumblebee bo+es. Make sure you put some nesting
material inside it. Some o the early spring workers are !ery small and may be
mistaken or another species as that o the Queens. Much later the workers are
larger because o the amount o ood on hand. Males ha!e a long antennae and
turn up in summer& rom late May onwards. "n all bumblebees there may well be
regional colour !ariations and some bees in the 6orth o the U/ and Europe
produce !ery ew worker bees. "n the ,rctic there may well be no worker
bumblebees and in the ar 6orth o Scotland i the winter is long and spring cold
numbers o workers are well down.
B0MBUS L,8806"$US. , !ariable species with a number o sub species and
may ha!e a grey white collar. The under9parts are reddish sometimes with yellow
hairs near the rear end. 7as ew workers and ound in 6orthern Scandina!ia&
the dominant species and mainly in the mountains.
B. S0:0EE6"S. Sub9species and has a collar with under segment yellow and tail
white. 6ests under9ground. Sub9species B.s proteus and is black with an orange
tail. .ound in Europe and will o!erlap to produce colour !arieties.
B. ;06ELLUS. 2ellow hairs on the top o the head& collar is yellow with a white
tail. 8ollen basket on legs is reddish. .ace is short and round. This species likes
coast and heath lands.
B. 70:T0:UM. , large bee with a collar& which is yellow. )hite tail.
Longhaired and scruy looking. 8ollen basket is black. .ound in most areas o
the U/ and "reland.
B. :U#E:,TUS. Looks like the last species but the yellow bands are narrow or
missing all together. <st band is oten broken. Short haired with wings darker
than abo!e species. :are to missing in the 6orth. 6ests below ground.
B. 72860:UM. .ound in wooded areas and nests in holes in trees or holes in
walls. Thora+ is all brown and has a white tail. .ound in most parts o Europe.
B. SUBTE::,6US. Short haired and large with dull yellow collar and narrow
band. )hite tailed. 6ests below ground. .ound more in the South than in the
6orth where it may be looked on there as rare or missing. Male=s greenish brown
and large.
B. LU$0:UM. $ollar is lemon yellow as is band. Tail white. Males may show
yellow scutellum and other yellow bands. >ery early bee and ound almost
B. TE::EST:"S. $ollar orange or golden yellow as is band. Tail is bu coloured
in the U/ but white in many parts o Europe. )orkers and males ha!e a whitish
tail with odd ginger hairs through it. 6ests below ground but not common in the
B. 8:,T0:UM. Small bee with an orange red tail with a shaggy coat. Some
workers may not show any yellow on the abdomen. Males ha!e a wide yellow
collar with more yellow on the abdomen. This is an early bee and inishes around
;uly but may ha!e ' broods. 6ests in bird and bat bo+es and in old birds nests
abo!e the ground.
B. ,L8"6US. "n the mountains o Europe and is "# as ha!ing a black thora+ and
golden abdomen. 7ind legs and pollen baskets are black. )ill nest abo!e and
below the ground.
B. M06T"$0L,. .ound in the mountains and moorlands o the north this bee
has a pale yellow collar with a red orange abdomen but more orange towards the
B. $06.US"S. , shorthaired species with a humped thora+. The tail is red and
pointed. Males ha!e !ery large eyes. .ound in the middle part o Europe and in
the south. More research needed.
B. 80M0:UM. The tail is red with a pinkish tinge. Males ha!e a yellow grey
collar and red abdomen. .ound in sandy area. More research needed.
B. $ULLUM,6US. .ound in Spain and more research needed. Queens are
black with a red tail and trace yellow collar. 6ow !ery rare.
B. ME6#,?. .ound in the 8yrenees in the mountains. Sometimes9pale bands
missing. 2ellowish tail.
B. MES0MEL,S. Black band between the wings. .awn hair on body with
golden abdomen at times. The tip o the tail in this species is black. Males are
greyish white. .ound in the mountains o the ,lps and 8yrenees.
B. #"ST"61UE6#US. Longhaired bee& brown with black band between the
wings. 6ests below ground and not common anymore. .ound more in the north
than in the south.
B.8,S$U0:UM. Tawny coloured with some black and !ery dark coloured in
the north& more o+ coloured in the south. , thin and scruy coat. 6ests in old
birds nests abo!e ground and a late bee dying o& sometimes into Sept.
B. 1E:ST,E$E:". Thora+ golden orange with scattered white on the abdomen.
May at times be all black. .ace is long and narrow and a mountain species in
Europe. More research needed.
B. S2L>,:UM. The thora+ is a pale brown with black central area showing.
Tail orange with a pinkish red. , late species. 6ot ound in the ar north.
B. 728E:B0:EUS. Large and brightly coloured bee with !ery long hairs.
0range band sometimes replaced with yellow. .ound in the north.
B. )U:.LE"6" 82:E6,"$US. , colourul bee ound in the 8yrenees and
nests below ground. More research needed.
B. L,8"#,:"US. , longhaired species with males ha!ing a broad yellow collar
and likes open country as well as ound in open coastal areas. 6ests under stones.
More research needed in '((@
Some o the abo!e bees may get conused with $uckoo Bees o which " know o A
M0:E BUMBLE BEE "# BEL0) ,6# :EL,TE# T0 T7E ,B0>E

Send all your bee record !o"
%oner&a!'on Tru!
%o!!rell #u'ld'n(
Un'&er'!y o) S!'rl'n(
S!'rl'n( *+, 4LA
:onnie $arleton