Ed Banks found the body of a queen of the early-nesting bumblebee Bombus pratorum yesterday by the roadside in Northiam yesterday. Many bees are killed by passing road vehicles, and this was an early casualty as it was foraging for nectar or a suitable nest site.
The colours are now fading on this insect so I am not providing a picture, but this is a bee you will probably see commonly in your garden. Nests are established early in the year, indeed we had workers on Rosemary in early April last year. The queens are only 16mm long, and the workers are much smaller, and it is a short plump looking insect. This is one of the bumblebees that has a yellow stripe at the front of the thorax (the bit of the body with the wings attached), a yellow band in the middle of the abdomen, and a ginger tail. Read the rest of this entry »