Male Meadow Bees have arrived

This vividly coloured little bumble is the male of the tiny meadow bee, whose workers are predominantly velvet black. Like the males of other bumble species, he can be distinguished by the yellow hairs on his face, but also by much more generous yellow striping than his sisters.

Usually the drones are out around mid-June, but here and over at Murtagh’s Meadow they were spotted on May 28th, and they have been early in other parts of the country too.

B_pratorum drone_3

The emergence of drones can signal the failure of a colony, or that it is drawing towards the end of its natural cycle. But so far this year the number of Meadow bees spotted has more than tripled on last year, so they would seem to be having a very good season.

There is one other intriguing possibility, which Tomas Murray points out in the monthly Bumblebee Monitoring Scheme newsletter: in southern Europe and southern England Meadow bees can raise a second generation. If we start to see early new Queens alongside the drones, that would suggest that the same pattern is now setting in here.

Tomas has helpfully provided this comparison chart for spotting drones and queens.Bpratorum_castes.png

This entry was posted in Bi-voltine, Bombus Pratorum, bumblebees, Meadow Bumblebee. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Male Meadow Bees have arrived

  1. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    As well as the Early bumblebee, Bombus pratorum, drones I have also had Heath bumble Bombus Jonellus drones this week too (also early). And am pretty sure I have had a new Bombus pratorum queen too – but she refused to pose for the camera!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s