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  • Writer's pictureWildlife Friendly Otley


One of our most common bees, their ability to forage at very long distances has made them a little more resilient to the negative environmental factors that are damaging our bee populations. I saw this one on some Green Alkanet at Knotford. It's not easy distinguishing the Buff Tail from a White Tailed Bumblebee, but the yellow bands tend to be a bit darker. Like honeybees, bumblebees are eusocial, which means they live in complex societies with several generations in the nest at the same time, a strict division of labour, and co-operative care of the young. Buff Tailed Bumblebees are unusual in that the workers vary enormously in size: from 68 to 754mg. They are all female; on reaching adulthood males (drones) leave the colony to find a mate from another nest - mating is their sole role. Another thing bumblebees have in common with honey bees is their innate preference for blue or yellow flowers. In the photo you can see the pollen sacs on the back legs.


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