Bumblebees are large, four-winged insects that belong to an order called the Hymenoptera, which also includes sawflies, ants, and wasps. They are well-known for their meandering flight, and their distinctive buzz.
There are 24 species of bumblebee resident in Britain, of which only seven species are widspread. One spcies, the Short-haired bumblebee (Bombus subterraneus), is being reintroduced after going extinct in 1988.
Unlike the Honey bee, bumblebees do not make honey, as they do not need to store food for winter. Instead, the season’s new queens hibernate and emerge to found their own nests in the spring. These nests may be found underground, in trees or roofs of houses.
Bumblebees are excellent pollinators — much more efficient pollinators than honeybees.
Bumblebees are highly territorial Queen and worker bumblebees can sting, males can not. Unlike in honeybees, a bumblebee’s sting lacks barbs, so the bee can sting repeatedly without injuring itself. Bumblebee species are not normally aggressive, but may sting in defense of their nest, or if harmed.
British Naturalists' Association
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