Species: White-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lucorum)

Family: Bumble and Honey Bees (APIDAE)

Category: Insects (Other)

Location: NW

A. Insects (Other)

More extensive information on insects can be found in a separate blog post.

B. Bumble and Honey Bees (APIDAE)

The honey and bumble bees are social insects, whereas all other bees are solitary. Bumble Bees live in small colonies, often underground but they can be in dense terrestrial vegetation. Most of those seen in Spring and early Summer will be females, males appearing in late Summer. They have long antennae. There are 17-24 species of Bumble Bee depending on which entomologist is compiling the classification.
 
In former times, hives and bees were traditionally acquired by barter, or for gold or silver, for to exchange for cash was considered an unlucky transaction. It was considered bad luck to carry a hive across flowing water. Bees are said to be fussy about who manages them and will not produce honey for someone ill-behaved or of criminal tendencies, nor for someone quarrelsome or foul-mouthed. If bees suddenly quit a hive then death or ill-luck will visit the owner's house. If a bee owner dies the hives must be turned. If a funeral cortège passes, hives must be lifted until it has gone from view. For all significant family news the hives are tapped and the news whispered to the bees, or the bees may leave in disgust, or misfortune may strike. At weddings or birthdays a piece of cake is given to the bees; at funerals black crêpe is wrapped round the hives. A swarm of bees settling on a dead tree is a portent of death.

Note that various mason bees and mining bees have also been found in the Cemetery.

C. White-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lucorum)

The collar and 2nd abdominal segment are lemon-yellow, the 'tail' being white. The scutellum and 1st abdominal segment are black.

Images

White-tailed Bumblebee

The collar and 2nd abdominal segment of the White-tailed Bumblebee are lemon-yellow, the 'tail' being white.

White-tailed Bumblebee

The collar and 2nd abdominal segment of the White-tailed Bumblebee are lemon-yellow, the 'tail' being white.

White-tailed Bumblebee

The scutellum and 1st abdominal segment of the White-tailed Bumblebee are black.

White-tailed Bumblebee

This White-tailed Bumblebee is defending itself against incoming rivals with a flick of a hind leg.

The fly in the top-right corner of the expanded view of this photograph may be the thick-headed fly, Sicus ferrugineus, seen in the Cemetery on other occasions.

White-tailed Bumblebee

Bumble Bees live in small colonies, often underground, but they can be in dense terrestrial vegetation.

White-tailed Bumblebee

There are 17-24 species of British Bumblebees, depending on which entomologist is compiling the classification.

White-tailed Bumblebee

The honey and bumblebees are social insects, whereas all other bees are solitary.

The individual photographed here is a male Bombus lucorum 'aggregate'.