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The bumblebee is a flying insect. Like the common bee, of which it is a distant relative, the bumblebee feeds on nectar. Bumblebees tend to be larger than other members of the bee family. They rarely have stingers.

Bumblebees live in hollow spaces underground where they will raise larvae and store food. Unlike honeybees, bumblebees store only a few day's food and so are much more vulnerable to food shortages. Bumblebee nests are typically used only for one year.1

Bumblebees are in danger in many developed countries due to habitat destruction and collateral pesticide damage.

In Britain, there are 21 species of native bumblebee and six varieties of cuckoo bees - bees that dupe other bumblebees into looking after their young. Of these, only six bumblebees remain widespread. Five are in serious decline and at least three are extinct. 1

Common species of Bumblebee include:

  • Large Garden bumblebee, Bombus Ruderatus
  • Cullem's bumblebee, Bombus Collamanus
  • Short-haired bumblebee, Bombus Subterraneus
  • Great Yellow bumblebee, Bombus Distinguendus
  • Shrill Carder bee, Bumbus Silvarum

See also: bees, how to tell bees from wasps

External link

1 "Bumblebee Shortage", Bee Culture, July 2003, pg 59, Alan Harman

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