We all have, at one point or the other, crossed paths with a bumblebee. These bees look gigantic and scary but much like me, have you ever wondered – Do bumblebees have a queen? Let us learn about the same.
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Do Bumblebees have a queen?
Bumblebees do have a queen. The queen is the essential member of the colony and is responsible for laying eggs, caring for the young, and maintaining the hive.
In fact, bumblebee queens are the only ones in a colony that can lay eggs. The queen starts a new colony by finding an unused nest, laying eggs, and feeding the larvae until they become workers.
Queens usually live for up to 12 months, while workers and male offspring have much shorter lives.
The Life Of The BumbleBee Queen
In the early spring, the bumble bee queen emerges from hibernation. She begins to search for a place to build her nest and starts the process of reproducing.
The queen is the only bumblebee that can lay eggs, so it is important that she finds a good spot to set up shop. Once she has found a suitable location, she starts to lay eggs and build her colony.
Once she has found a good spot, she will start to build the nest by bringing in pollen and nectar. The queen will also take care of the larvae, feeding them royal jelly until they pupate and emerge as new queens or workers.
Bumblebee queens are unique in that they can sting. If a queen feels threatened, she will sting her opponent and then fly away.
Queens also have a barbed stinger, which means the stinger stays in the skin of their victim. As a result, bumblebees are the only social insects that can sting more than once.
Normally, a bumblebee colony will have one queen. However, with the dwindling of nest sites, queens are now having to compete for territory. This leads to fighting and even death among queens. Scientists are currently looking for ways to help preserve bumblebee colonies.
What does a queen bumblebee look like?
Queens of the bumblebee are typically bigger than their worker and male counterparts. But more importantly, she is longer. Her long belly extends past the tips of her wings, creating the impression that she has short wings.
Her back, like that of other laborers, is unique. Workers often have hairy backs. However, she had a glossy, black hairless back.
They are responsible for laying eggs, which will eventually turn into new workers and males.
In fact, queens are able to control the sex of their eggs by using a chemical signal called a pheromone. When they want to lay fertilized eggs, they produce a queen-specific pheromone that suppresses the development of male embryos.
Conversely, when they want to lay unfertilized eggs, they produce a different pheromone that does not suppress the development of males.
When a queen bumblebee dies, worker bees will start to produce eggs. However, the offspring of these eggs will be male-only if the queen is killed. This is because the workers can’t produce viable eggs on their own, so they need the queen’s presence to generate female offspring.
When is a bumble bee colony called successful?
A colony of bumblebees is deemed successful when it has produced a new queen. Once the new queen is born, the colony will die off, and the new queen will go out and start her own colony.
One is also considered successful when it has produced enough honey to sustain the colony. Honey is used as food for the colony.
Does a Bumblebee queen sting?
Queens of the bumblebee genus Bombus have a nasty sting. They can repeatedly sting, which can be quite painful.
Mated queens do not sting and are inactive. After finding a mate, the queen will start to build her nest and lay eggs. Once the eggs hatch, she will begin to forage for food and care for her young.
How does mating work in the case of bumble bees?
In the case of bumblebees, mating is a little more complex than it is for honeybees. The queens are much less promiscuous and tend to mate with just one or two drones. This helps ensure that the queen’s genes are passed on to the next generation.
After mating, the queen bee must feed heavily on nectar to prepare herself for hibernation. During this time, she will lay eggs and start building up her hive. Once she has put on enough weight, she will go into hibernation, and the eggs will hatch into new worker bees.
Do Bumblebee queens make nesting sites?
Bumblebee queens are the only ones in a colony who can lay eggs. After finding a suitable nesting site, they will start to lay eggs and build up a colony.
The queen is essential for the survival of the colony, so it is important that she is able to find a good nesting site and start laying eggs right away.
When bumblebee queens first emerge from hibernation, they don’t have the help of worker bees. The queens must find a place to nest and start building their colony. They will usually choose an abandoned rodent hole or some other sheltered spot.
Six species of Queen Bumblebees one can spot during spring.
Queen Bumblebees are one of the first signs of spring. They can be observed in late winter and early spring as they search for a place to build their nest. There are six types of queen bumblebees that can be spotted during this time. These are –
Buff-tailed Bumblebee Bombus Terrestris
The queen is the most important member of a bumblebee colony. She lays all the eggs and does all the work to make sure the colony survives. The queen has two yellow bands—one behind her head and one on her abdomen.
The buff-tailed queen bumblebee is a species of queen bumblebee that is found throughout Europe and North America. They are easily identified by their buff-colored tails. They are the most common type of bumblebee in Europe and are important pollinators.
Early Bumblebee Bombus pratorum
The Early Bumblebee is a small, black and yellow bumblebee. It is one of the first bumblebees to emerge in the spring. It is found throughout North America.
Queen Early Bumblebee nests are typically underground and contain no more than 100 workers. The queen is the only reproductive member of the nest and is responsible for laying eggs, as well as for maintaining the nest.
They are noticeably smaller than other queen bumblebees and have a small orange-red or rosy tail, as well as two lemon yellow bands: one behind the head and one on the abdomen. Queens can live for up to 5 years, whereas workers only live for about four months.
Red-tailed Bumblebee Bombus lapidarius
The Red-tailed Bumblebee is a common bumblebee in the UK. It nests underground and typically has two broods per year.
In fact, the queen here is the most important member of a bumblebee colony. She is the only bee member in the colony that can lay eggs. Bumblebee queens are very distinctive, with a black-haired body and a large crimson-red tail.
White-tailed Bumblebee Bombus lucorum agg.
A White-tailed Bumblebee is a group of three species that can only be separated by DNA analysis.
This is because they are very similar in appearance and share many of the same characteristics. The three species are Bombus lucorum, Bombus Magnus, and Bombus Terrestris.
One of the most easily identifiable features of a queen belonging to this species of bumblebee is its white tail. The white-tailed bumblebee, Bombus lucorum agg., can be found throughout Europe and parts of Asia.
Queens have two bright yellow bands on their bodies: one behind their heads and one on their abdomen. The band near the head is usually wider, and it’s used as a way to identify a queen.
Garden Bumblebee Bombus hortorum
The Garden Bumblebee is a common species of bumblebee that can be found in gardens and meadows. They are easily identified by their long tongue, which is characteristic of the species.
They are social insects and live in colonies that can contain up to 150 gardens.
They have a queen, which is the only bee in the colony that can lay eggs. The queen is bigger than the other bees in the colony and has a white tail. She also has three yellow bands that are close together on her body.
Tree Bumblebee Bombus hypnorum
The Tree Bumblebee is a recent arrival to both the North East and Britain. It was first spotted in the UK in 2001 and had been slowly making its way across the country. The bee gets its name from being found near trees and other vegetation.
They are distinguished by their white tail and ginger-brown thorax. Their black abdomen is also unique among British bumblebees. Queens have a particularly long lifespan and can live for up to two years.
Hopefully, through this article, you now have extensive knowledge regarding bumblebees having a queen as well as the various types of bumblebee queens.