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Thread: Bumblebee parasite?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Mellifera Crofter's Avatar
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    Default Bumblebee parasite?

    I saw my first bumble bee a few days ago - a huge queen. I tried to take a photo of her by aiming my phone vaguely in her direction, so the photo isn't that good. But then I saw all these tiny little bugs or eggs on her shoulders - the top of her thorax. Before I could take a better photo, she flew off. Does anybody know what she's plagued with?
    Kitta
    IMG_5076.jpg

  2. #2

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    Hi Kitta,

    These are mites you often see on bumblebee queens at this time of year. They live in the nest and feed largely on nest debris. They're probably beneficial to the nest health however you do sometimes see queens that are almost entirely covered in mites and they probably effect the queens mobility.

    SB

  3. #3
    Senior Member Mellifera Crofter's Avatar
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    Thanks Silvbee, it's a relief to know they're not blood- (or fat-)sucking mites like Varroa - but I wish they won't hitch a ride on the poor queen in such numbers!
    Kitta

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mellifera Crofter View Post
    Thanks Silvbee, it's a relief to know they're not blood- (or fat-)sucking mites like Varroa - but I wish they won't hitch a ride on the poor queen in such numbers!
    Kitta
    That's fairly average you see some queens where the mites totally cover the entire thorax.

    SB

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    Senior Member Adam's Avatar
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    I thought they were Braula mites - but apparently not:-
    Here's some info
    https://www.bumblebeeconservation.or...mblebee-mites/

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    Senior Member Mellifera Crofter's Avatar
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    Thank you, Adam. I've been on Bumblebee site before posting, but didn't see the answer. Impressive-looking little creature.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Adam's Avatar
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    I have to say that I have never seen the little critters on a bumblebee like that - it does look alarming! I will have to keep a watchful eye in future. However usually, buy the time I get my camera/phone out, the interesting shot has long gone!

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