One of my favorite things is the bumble bee and here is her story.
On April 14, I was walking through the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake, Wisconsin, USA, and thought I saw a Bombus affinis. This bumble bee is in decline. Even though the bumble could be located in Wisconsin, Washburn County is not its home. You can imagine how excited I became when I saw what I thought was the rusty patch bumble bee. I went scrambling into my purse for the iPhone and took some photos while the bumble bee flew happily from one dandelion flower to another gathering pollen.
On April 25, I emailed Jennifer Hopwood, Midwest Pollinator Outreach Coordinator at Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. She identified my bumble as Bombus ternarius. According to Jennifer, this species has orange rusty hair bands on the 2nd and 3rd segments, and then another yellow band on the 4th segment. This bee is the cousin of the rusty-patched bumble bee.
Jennifer says, “The rusty patch bumblebee has yellow hairs on the first segment, and then a rusty patch in the middle of the second segment, with yellow hairs on either side of the orange patch. She suggested that it was likely a queen bumble bee and that she will go on to produce 100+ bumble bees this year. I hope many of the queen’s offsprings will make their home this summer at the Native Wildflower and Butterfly Garden.
Let’s do all we can to plant nectar sources for the pollinators. Let me know your bumble bee stories.
Be happy Insectamonarca friends where ever you are.