I don’t really want to sting you…..read the signs!
Bumblebees are really docile creatures which display ‘back off’ warning signs if they feel threatened. Learning these could be useful, especially if you want to photograph or film them. It is best not to breathe over them. Carbon dioxide also comes from predatory mammals, such as badgers and foxes when attacking their nests. You may not be a predator but breathing out all over them would not be a good idea! Breathe out of the side of your mouth!
When feeling threatened away from its nest, an individual bumblebee will display an array of signs for you to ‘back off’. Given their ‘aggressive’ label this tree bumblebee, displayed at least 5 to my knowledge and walked off into the sunset!
1. raising of middle leg nearest to my finger
2. raising rear leg
3. moving abdomen nearer my finger
4/5 raising front leg and moving rear leg higher
which worked! and as I moved my finger away she moved off into the undergrowth. Both unharmed and both wiser, all in the name of science!!
For more information and to help save bumblebees join the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.
You can download a detailed B. hypnorum information sheet here from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust