|Positive ||wallaby1 ||On Oct 1, 2008, wallaby1 from Lincoln
(Zone 8a) wrote:
The Queen Bumblebee overwinters under moss or similar, emerging early in spring. She will make a nest of small wax pots in which she lays her eggs, fertilised the previous year when males emerge later in summer. The males are not allowed to re-enter the nest and will eventually die along with female workers and the old queen when cold weather arrives. They will often nest in old vole holes under ground, once sterile female workers have hatched they help with nest building and feeding the young on nectar and pollen.
The males and workers can be confused with B. terrestris, as they generally have paler stripes and off white tails compared to B. terrestris queens. The queen of B. lucorum is generally smaller than the B. terrestis queen.
B. lucorum is thought to be a species complex, including 3 similar species to add to the confusion, which in future may be separated. The yellow bands are generally more lemon coloured than B. terrestris, which in turn also varies greatly in it's colour! B. lucorum always has a white tail, but some males and workers of B. terrestris have off-white tails and should have a brownish line at the top of this. However, there is a European form of B. terrestris with a white tail which has been used in the UK in greenhouses for pollination and some have escaped!