NATURE KNOWLEDGE: Red-Tailed Bumblebees

new photos 017redRed- tailed bumblebees are delightful to watch in my garden. They are easy to spot, with their bright patch of orange, as they buzz around nectar rich flowers. Colonies, of these bees, number around 200 members. Aren’t they pretty?

2948342526_cf7a110d6f_bThe queens come out of hibernation in early Spring. Queenie lays eggs of worker bees right away. The workers build nests in stone crevasses or , sometimes, in old birds nests. They tend the eggs too. A while later, the male bees hatch to mate with females and carry on the nectar collecting business, which is their source of food. In the Fall, all the males (including worker bees) and the old queen die…the new queens, hatched that year, hibernate in order to start the cycle again in the spring.

These bumblebees are common in the United States and Europe. In recent times, their numbers have diminished as their habitat has been reduced and pesticides have killed some of them off. You can make a difference in their population numbers by keeping nectar rich flowers in your gardens.

Last season, I noticed an alarmingly reduced number of honeybees and red-tailed bumblebees. Part of last year’s dilemma was, in my opinion, the unusually warm and snow-free winter which affected the natural timing of tree flowers with bee hatching. Whatever the reason, my fruit trees bore far fewer fruit due to the absence of pollinators. I have high hopes for this spring to come.

As a footnote, I have never been stung by a bumblebee. One of my favorite childhood activities was catching them in jars, then releasing them. Mom warned that I was asking for stings, yet they never did. The photos above were taken by practically placing my camera lens on the subjects…still no stings. I don’t recommend antagonizing bees but would hope that people avoid them rather than kill them. They are very important to farmers and our produce!

15 thoughts on “NATURE KNOWLEDGE: Red-Tailed Bumblebees

    • Susan 01/11/2013 / 7:07 am

      Thanks Paula, my nature-loving artistic friend. By posting the link within your comment, it is already there! I always forget to link like articles…thanks for the reminder!

  1. P.S. I Love Soap Co. 01/11/2013 / 7:35 am

    I never knew there were red tailed bumble bees…I’ll be looking out for them. The ONLY time I got stung by a bee was when I was little and I stepped on it. 🙂

    • Susan 01/11/2013 / 7:53 am

      Yellow jackets nest in the ground and are the most reported first and only stings. Glad my post helped with your NATURE KNOWLEDGE. 😉

      • Paula Kuitenbrouwer 01/11/2013 / 8:50 am

        Indeed, we are building a beehive with bloggy connected chambers. 🙂

      • P.S. I Love Soap Co. 01/11/2013 / 9:25 am

        You always do..I know the yellow jackets nest pretty much anywhere and I’ve been stung by them a million times….The bee was I was a kid left his stinger in my foot.
        The bee had landed somewhere (I think on my bicycle pedal) I had no shoes on hence the stinger went into my foot…..LoL:)
        Have you ever written anything regarding those Hornets…They attach and don’t stop biting or whatever it is…….I never want another Hornet bite! Ever!

      • Susan 01/11/2013 / 9:47 am

        I will…those White-faced Hornets are nasty little critters…they over step the idea of protecting their own territory! Thanks for the new theme idea! 😉

      • P.S. I Love Soap Co. 01/11/2013 / 9:58 am

        You’re welcome! and thank you:) have a great weekend!

  2. ukgardenfiend 01/11/2013 / 1:00 pm

    Thanks for coming to read my blog and posting a link. We get many different types of bumbles in our garden but I’m not sure about these red ones – I’ll keep an eye out. We have a bumble home but they don’t seem to like it much – they prefer to hide away – we’re not sure where…

    • Susan 01/11/2013 / 1:04 pm

      Your blog site is beautiful … We put up bat houses and have no visitors, same as your bumbles, animals know what they want. 😉

  3. Strawberryindigo 01/12/2013 / 12:32 am

    Great post and thanks for the plug for our friends the bees, we’d really miss them if they were gone.

    • Susan 01/13/2013 / 12:49 pm

      That is a fact! I’ll keep an eye on them with a generous flower garden this summer. 😉

    • Susan 01/16/2013 / 2:51 pm

      Well, Susan means Lily in Hebrew, I’d say we fit together well! 😉
      Thanks for the link and info. Dang, I had no idea!

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