Cuckoo Bumble bees

Yesterday I saw this faded bee feeding on a thistle flower and took a photograph thinking how good it would be show how faded bees become at this time of year. It was only when I uploaded the photo that I realised it had only one yellow band (almost white now at the end of the season) and this sent me looking for my identification guide.

Forest Cuckoo bee, Bombus sylvestris.

Forest Cuckoo bee, Bombus sylvestris.

It is cuckoo bumble bee, not a true bumble. As the name suggests the cuckoo bumble bees lay their eggs in bumblebee nests and then leave them for the bumblebees to take care of. The cuckoo bumbles often have similar banding patterns to their hosts.

Forest Cuckoo bee, Bombus sylvestris.

Forest Cuckoo bee, Bombus sylvestris.

The host species of the Forest Cuckoo bee, Bombus sylvestris is the Early Bumblebee Bombus pratorum.

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About Murtagh's Meadow

As an ecologist I have always had an interest in nature. I love gardening and would spend all day outdoors if I could. I also enjoy taking photographs and writing. I live in the west of Ireland with my young family.
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