About Bumble Bees

Bombus barbutellus - Barbut's cuckoo bee (male)Above: Bombus barbutellus - Barbut's cuckoo bee (male)

Bumble bees are enchanting creatures, their gentle buzzing sound is synonymous with Summer.  However, they are not only beautiful, they are vitally important pollinators. 


On my page Types Of Bees, I provide a summary of the different classifications of the various bee species. 


Below, is an overview of the scientific classification of the bumble bee, and beneath that, you will find links to further information, from an explanation of the lifecycle, to answers to common questions (such as why bumble bees may be seen digging in the ground or bumping against windows, and what to do should you find a bedraggled looking bumblebee in need of some help).

Please do keep coming back to this site, as further information is continually being added!

Scientific Classification:  Bumble Bees


Kingdom

Animalia (the animal kingdom)


Phylum


Arthropoda (which means they are invertebrates, having an exoskeleton (or outer skeleton) and jointed body parts (legs, antennae).


Class


Insecta (they have six legs)


Order


Hymenoptera (referring to winged insects – read more about hymenoptera)


Sub-order


Apocrita (they have a waste, sting, and larvae are blind and without legs)


Family


Apidae (bees)


Genus


Bombus (bumble bees)


Further information:


Introduction
Background information - their current status in the UK and USA, as well as the problems they face.


Bumble bee Lifecycle
Information about the lifecycle of this important little pollinator, with pictures.

The Queen
Take a look at this page about the queen of the colony, and watch a lovely short David Attenborough video clip.


Nests
Where do they prefer to nest, and can you create a nest site in your garden?

Cuckoos
It may surprise you to learn that there are species of cuckoo bees (and wasps too!). Even bumblebees have cuckoo species!

Pollination
What makes bumble bees such excellent pollinators?


How To Help A Bumble Bee With Mites
You may see phoretic mites attached to the body of a bumble bee.  Practical assistance.

Should We Write 'Bumblebee' or 'Bumble Bee'?
i.e. one word or two?

Nest Removal
Nests only last a season, and relocating a nest is rarely successful, but sometimes, moving a nest is inevitable. Here are some step by step instructions to increase the chances of moving a nest successfully, humanely and safely.

Bees Nest Q&A
You may have found a bees nest, and not be sure what kind of bee it belongs to, or what to do about it. Here is a handy Q&A.



British Bumblebees
A guide to the UK species.


Bumble bees Of North And Central America
(Including Mexico)


Do Bumble bees Make Honey?
A question I have often been asked during my talks, perhaps due to the confusion between honey bees and bumble bees.


 Bumping Bumble bees!
Why can bumblebees sometimes be seen bumping against windows?


Bumble bee Foraging Behaviours
Do bumble bees waggle dance?  Do they prefer certain flowers? 


Digging?
Bumble bees may sometimes be seen digging in the ground.  Here you can read why.


The Flight Of The Bumble bee
A joy to watch! A short video showing the flight of this enchanting little pollinator. Also, you can listen to the composition by Rimsky-Korsakov, The Flight Of The Bumble bee and even download the sheet music for free!

Pollination
Why are bumble bees such excellent pollinators?


Bumble bees For Sale?
Bumble bees are being reared commercially for sale not only to major food growers, but also to gardeners.  But is it a good idea to buy them?



Found A Bee?
What to do if you want to help a bedraggled looking bee, or see a one covered in mites.

About Bees
Want to know more about bees generally, such as how long bees live, or how the species differ? Take a look at some of the general information on this site.

Bee Plants
Why not help the bees and attract them into your garden, by including lots of great bee plants?




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