Common Carder Bee

Bombus pascuorum

©Stuart M Bennett 2009









The Common Carder Bee Lives in a variety of habitats both dry and damp - in meadows, parks, gardens, woods and fields. It occurrs mainly in lowland and foothill areas. It can be found in upland pine forests and the like but not very often.

The Common Carder bee emerges later than some of the others. It is a foxy colour all over, but in time this fades and the hairs may become almost white. It may or may not have black hairs on the abdomen. The queen is usually medium sized, but can be large, and the size of workers may also vary greatly. It is common in gardens and elsewhere. Queen, workers and males are similar in colour.

Like all European Bumblebees the Carder Bee lives in a socially in a colony throughout it's life. Like wasps, bumblebees are unable to store enough food for the winter therefore the worker, males and the old queen all die in the autumn. Like the wasps the young queens overwinter and emerge in the spring to start a new nest. The nest is small with only about 100 - 200 cells. Many females, about 50% or more die after establishing the nest due to the bad weather. The nest is not as intricate as the honey bees.

Sometimes she builds her nest in amongst grass and weeds in a clover field; at other times she will use a deserted birds nest and even a squirrel drey.

The nest is small, containing only about 100 - 200 cells. As soon as the female discovers a suitable site, she returns to it again and again in order to fix its position in her memory. The fate of the future nest relies on her totally from this moment on. Up to 50% of the females can die due to inclement weather after they have founded the nest and this is the end of the whole colony.


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