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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bees at Barrington Court

A couple of weekends ago I spent a fascinating afternoon with an expert in bees, learning how to identify different Bumble Bees. First we had to catch some, which we did use sampling bottles and carefully approaching the bees, which were busy gathering pollen from the cat mint in the gardens.


Then we were shown how to decide if they were male or females. The latter having an obvious point at the tail end of the body. Also, only the females collect pollen, so they are the only ones with pollen baskets on their legs! When they have been busy these get very full and are quite obvious.
To decide which group of bees they belonged to you then looked at the tail colour, white, buff or orange.
We also had to decide if they were true Bumble bees or cuckoo bees. The cuckoo bees do not collect pollen and their leg is coverd in thick hair, whereas the true Bumble bee has a shiny pollen sac.
I think I still need more practice, but I was amazed at how easy it was to catch them and then apply some id steps.For more info have a look at http://bumblebeeconservation.org/about-bees/identification/top-tips-for-bee-id/

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