Pollinator of the Month: Bumble Bees (Bombus)

Happy Pollinator Week! Our pollinators of the month this month are Bumble Bees!

Bumble bees (Bombus) are a genus of social bees found primarily in the Northern Hemisphere, including North America, Europe, and Asia. The genus name Bombus comes from the Latin word for "buzzing" or "humming," which refers to the sound that bumblebees make as they fly. There are over 250 species of bumblebees worldwide, with around 41 species found in Canada, and 28 species in Alberta. Some common examples of native bumblebee species found in Alberta include Hunt’s Bumblebee (Bombus huntii), the Red-belted Bumblebee (Bombus rufocinctus), and the Cryptic Bumblebee (Bombus cryptarum).

Bumblebees are social insects, living in colonies led by a queen bee. The size of the colony can vary from a few dozen to several hundred bees, depending on the species. They occupy a wide range of ecological niches, but are most commonly found in habitats such as meadows, fields, and gardens. They are important pollinators of native plants because of their relatively long tongues, which they use to reach nectar from deep flowers that other pollinators may not be able to access. Bumble bees also facilitate buzz pollination; certain species of plants depend on the vibrations from the bumble bee’s wings to release their pollen, for example, plants in the Nightshade family like tomatoes. Bumblebees are attracted to a variety of flowering plants, particularly those with brightly coloured, fragrant flowers. A few common examples of native plants that bumblebees like include bee balm, milkweed, and sunflowers.

To identify bumblebees, look for their characteristic large, fuzzy bodies, black and yellow or orange stripes. The colour and pattern of the stripes can vary between species. Pictures from multiple angles of the dorsal/back side that allow you to see the banding pattern of the bumblebee are helpful to distinguish between bumblebee species.

Please share any other tips you may have for bumble bee identification! Here is a great guide for bumble bee species identification in Calgary.

Reminder for Pollinator Week Events:

U of C Garden Party: Friday, June 23rd, 11:30am - 1:00pm
University of Calgary Community Garden
Free Bee Box-Building workshop, Pollinator Walks, Wagonstage Theatre Performance
Register for the event HERE

Calgary Pollinators: June Community Pollinator Walk: Saturday June 24th, 12:00pm-1:00pm
Inglewood Bird Sanctuary
Register for the June Community Pollinator Walk HERE
Bring your friends, family, and your smart-phone! We recommend downloading iNaturalist ahead of time.
There will be performances by the Wagonstage Theatre: The Little Forest at 11:00am and 1:00pm
Pollinator Week events will be taking place on the Walker House lawn within Inglewood Bird Sanctuary

Bonus content:
I recently did an interview with Arch Digital Magazine at the University of Calgary and they published the interview just in time for Pollinator Week! Enjoy!

הועלה ב-יוני 22, 2023 07:46 אחה"צ על ידי jdo77 jdo77


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