Queen Tree Bumblebee cleans my nails video

December 6, 2015

in A selection of my garden wildlife videos, Bumblebees and their ecology, Gardening For Wildlife

Queen Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum) cleaning my nails!

This particular garden nest was a roaring success as regards producing queen bumblebees. I saw this one actually fly from the nest and then fall to the floor and start crawling. Her wings looked fine and she looked healthy. As she scrambled on the soil surface I mixed some fructose rather hastily with cold water. Usually I use hot water which dissolves the powder quickly. Dipping my fingers and thumb into the mixture tempted her to lap up this sweet drink and tickle me in the process!

Having my nails cleaned by a queen bumblebee. Marvellous!

Having my nails cleaned by a queen bumblebee. Marvellous!

I used to use honey mixed with water when feeding tired bumblebees, but like all things we do in innocence, its only when you dig deeper into the topic that you find your small act of kindness may well be harming the very creature you think you are helping. A few years ago, an experienced honeybee keeper recommended fructose instead of honey, as honey itself can sometimes be contaminated with diseases, e.g. deformed wing virus, which can be passed onto other bees, including bumblebees. This makes you think. Honey is known to have antibacterial and acidic properties so its amazing organisms can exist in it. A quick internet search confirms this, not only contaminated honey, but contaminated pollen. There are many more examples available.

It’s small pieces of useful information that can help us to help our wildlife, including bumblebees and other pollinators. If you feel you want to be part of a team doing a little Citizen Science then have a look at the Buzz Club. You will be helping scientists and learning more as well.

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust can supply you with more information about bumblebees. Do consider joining.

With thanks to BumbleBeeWatching


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