Bumblebee queen killed by probably a Great tit or a robin

March 26, 2016

in Birds, Bumblebee pests, enemies, etc., Bumblebees and their ecology, Gardening For Wildlife

Predatory bird kills bumblebee queen

After months of hibernating the bumblebee queen eagerly sets out to feed up and start her colony. It’s her life’s quest. Likewise, a predatory bird, probably a Great tit or even a robin, itself getting into breeding condition, sees her as an opportunistic meal.  That’s nature!

No bumblebee colony from this unfortunate queen

No bumblebee colony from this unfortunate queen

Her sting and whole insides of her abdomen have been completely removed. The weather today, 26/3/16, was rather cool and dull. I suspect the queen was on the ground resting when the bird caught her, held her with its claw and pecked at her abdomen to get at the nutritious juicy bits along with any nectar her inside her ‘honeystomach’.  Click on photo for a clearer view.

From her markings she looked like a Bombus lucorum. Now deceased.

I have watched both Great tits and robins perch on a bird box containing tree bumblebees and try to catch them as they entered. They would follow the bees movements as they approached the entrance and try to snap at them, from their perch, though unsuccessfully.

See BBC film of Great tit catching a bumblebee outside its nest

For more information, photos, films, etc., of bumblebee pests and predators

For more information about Bumblebees: Bumblebee Conservation Trust

Interested in Citizen Science and pollinators? : The Buzz Club

 

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