Buff tailed bumblebee workers leave nest for first time today!
Note how the queen has a buff tail and the workers have a white tail! She was seen entering the nest box on 10/3/14…. this has been a busy nest with several other queens investigating it, some even entering and leaving. Perhaps they did not have the stomach to fight it out to the death with the current owner, who will continue to forage until there are enough workers to take over that task whilst she tends the young and lays more eggs.
A friend of mine, with many years bumblebee experience in Norway, has told me that he has often seen a queen bumblebee enter another bumblebees nest box, including that used by a different species, in order to steal nectar from that nest. A royal thief! He has also witnessed single worker bumblebees and single honey bees doing the same. This is something I have not knowingly seen myself here in the UK. Risky but makes sense.
I have seen workers entering a nest box where most of the occupants had died out, a few workers were still inside and young queens had already left, other bumblebee and social wasps then raided the remaining nectar.