BUMBLEBEES are some of nature's furriest little helpers. There are about 249 species worldwide. Here's Bombus terrestris, the largest species we have here in the UK:
Contrary to popular imagination, bumblebees are not solitary creatures. But compared to honeybees' metropolitan colonies (50,000 or more) bumblebees' nests are tiny villages ~ populated by 30 to 150 workers at their peak.
Also contrary to popular belief, bumblebee hives ARE available, fully stocked with bees:
But unlike honeybees' nests, bumblebees' will never fit neatly between frames. Constructed in muddy-coloured wax, they tend to look something more like a "Village of the Mud People":
Bumblebees CAN sting. Unlike honeybees their stings aren't barbed. But they're such placid creatures they very seldom use them.
Bumblebees do make honey from flower nectar just like their more glamorous cousins the "honey" bees. Unfortunately as their waxy nests contain acorn-shaped "rooms" rather than hexagonal cells a photo isn't possible. So have a look at some more bees buzzing into their nest:
Here's a David Attenborough video from Life in the Undergrowth:
ALL ANGELS ~ THE SCIENTIST
I heard this on the radio last night and really liked it:
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