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Thread: Bee ID

  1. #1
    Senior Member Mellifera Crofter's Avatar
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    Default Bee ID

    I saw this bee late September and I'm only now getting round to asking if anybody knows what it is (or perhaps use that new book).

    On first glance I was taken aback because that pointy tail looked like a giant honey bee. I don't think I've ever seen a bumble bee with a pointy tail - but I suppose it is a bumble bee!

    Kitta

    IMG_20150925_133000.JPG IMG_5591.jpg IMG_5594.JPG

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    Administrator gavin's Avatar
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    You will need that book, there's no getting away from it.

    There really are sharp-tailed bees but they are a lot pointier than your specimen.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/630752...7637781085684/

    Yours is a drone Bombus of some kind. Long antennae and no pollen basket plus that tapered bum. I suspect it is an old and faded Forest Cuckoo Bee, one of the parasitic species (parasitic on the Early, the Heath and the Bilberry Bumble Bees). Could be wrong.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/630752...7631614916795/

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    Administrator gavin's Avatar
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    Here's another. Of course cuckoo bees have reduced pollen baskets anyway, relying on their hosts to do the hard work.


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    Senior Member Greengage's Avatar
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    Cuckoo bumblebees are facinating creatures, They usually emerge from hibernation after most other bumblebees have emerged and established their nest, They will not enter a nest if it is too small or too big as the brood therein cannot support her young if to small and could kill her if too big. While most bees will have Workers and males and a queen, the Cuckoo bumblebee only produces Males and Queens.NO need for workers as the bumblebees in the hive she takes over do all the work.
    http://www.bumblebee.org/cuckoo.htm
    This is probably the best book ever written on Bumblebees even still
    http://www.buzzaboutbees.net/support...bumblebees.pdf
    Dave Goulson has writen a couple of books also one called A sting in the tale and the other called Buzz in the meadow both great reads.
    Last edited by Greengage; 11-11-2015 at 01:31 PM.

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    Administrator gavin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greengage View Post
    Laura Smith, the creator of that site, lives in the Mearns so she is fairly local to you, Kitta. The drawings she uses are lifted from Prys-Jones and Corbett (an excellent little guide) and they miss out the white-tailed form of Bombus sylvestris which you can see in Steven Falk's book in Plate 20.

    I'm reconsidering Bombus sylvestris as they usually have black at the tip of the abdomen so perhaps a more likely species for Aberdeenshire is the Field Cuckoo Bumblebee, Bombus campestris.

    Here's a drone photo on the BWARS site. The BWARS map lacks dots where you are so it may be worth sending a photo or a link to this discussion to a real expert, such as Steven Falk or Mike Edwards. However the map at NBN Gateway has a few more dots in NE Scotland. If I remember correctly we saw one near Inverurie when working on a pollen/gene flow project many years ago. They are likely under-recorded.

    http://www.bwars.com/index.php?q=bee...bus-campestris
    https://data.nbn.org.uk/Taxa/NHMSYS0000875494/Grid_Map

    Last edited by gavin; 11-11-2015 at 12:15 PM.

  6. #6

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    This is where wing morphometry can really be useful (its original purpose)
    Those wing patterns will be in a database somewhere
    Unfortunately Kitta you let the subject fly away missing the opportunity to sample it's wings

    What can be fairly stated is it was in no way related to Amm as when spotted it still had wings on both sides of its body

    Better weather today I should stop messing around and do something useful

  7. #7
    Senior Member Mellifera Crofter's Avatar
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    Thank you for all the interesting replies! I have a lot of reading to do and will definitely buy the book as well.

    I think your second guess is more likely to be the correct one, Gavin. That campestris looks just like the bee I saw on one of my beehives.
    ...
    Some of the pointy-tailed bees on that first link you gave, Gavin, is rather vicious-looking. My visiting campestris looks benign in comparison.

    Thanks again.
    Kitta
    Last edited by Mellifera Crofter; 12-11-2015 at 01:16 AM. Reason: Paragraph deleted - I made a huge mistake. I'm blushing red.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mellifera Crofter View Post
    Gavin, is rather vicious-looking. My visiting campestris looks benign in comparison.
    Kitta
    Bit Harsh Kitta ?

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    Administrator gavin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Drone Ranger View Post
    Bit Harsh Kitta ?
    Please! Cuddly and sympathetic, I like to think.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Mellifera Crofter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gavin View Post
    Please! Cuddly and sympathetic, I like to think.
    I don't know about the cuddly part, but definitely sympathetic.
    Kitta

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