Monday, 22 December 2014

Life Cycle of Bumblebee

The bumblebee goes through a complete metamorphosis and includes eggs, larvae (grub), pupae and adults. A fertile female queen that has successfully survived the cold weather months in a protected location starts a new nest in the early spring months. Only the fertile queens that mated the previous year survive and thus bumblebee nests are begun anew each year. The queens begin the new nest by locating a suitable nest location, constructing the nest and laying eggs that will mature into adults that become the first generation of offspring. Also, the queen leaves the nest to gather pollen and nectar that she uses to feed to the larval (grub) stage members of her nest.
As the first generation completes their development into winged adults, these nest members called workers will assume the duties of nest maintenance, construction and collecting pollen and nectar to feed the nest members. At this stage the queen’s role is to continue producing and laying eggs since she is no longer responsible for food gathering and nest enlargement. As the size of the nest increases, toward the mid- to late-summer months the queen will also lay eggs that will become reproductive males and females rather than infertile workers.
The next major event in the life of the nest is when reproductive males and females mate and the fertile females then depart to find a suitable overwintering site where they will live prior to beginning a new nest the following spring. Bumblebees do not swarm like honeybees, but adult, male bumblebees may hover outside a nest as they wait for the reproductive females to emerge, so they can mate.

Signs of bumblebee presence

The presence of bumblebees usually involves actually seeing adults foraging for pollen and nectar among flowering plants on the property. Also, one might see bumblebee workers coming and going around the entrance into the nest site while sometimes gardeners who are working in the soil in late winter or very early spring may uncover overwintering queens.

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