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Bumble bee on azalea

I’ve been worried about the native bees. So far this spring we’ve had very few nice days, and I haven’t seen many native bees. Today, though, when the skies cleared for a few moments, I saw this big bumble in the azalea bush. I actually heard it long before a saw it–a deep, rumbling buzz you couldn’t mistake for anything else.

Bumble bee on azalea.

Comments

jess
Reply

I saw some of those bumbles working on our lilacs this week. They are about as big as my thumb, right?

Rusty
Reply

They are huge!

Bruce
Reply

Hi Rusty,

June 1st, 7:30 am, I was passing under a male persimmon and for the first time noticed it was blooming. Bumblebees were numerous in the tree and several were on the ground working the fallen blooms (must be good).

Elias
Reply

Hi Rusty,

Do bumble bees compete with honey bees for nectar?

Rusty
Reply

Elias,

All bees compete with each other to some extent, but different species favor different plants and some are better equipped to handle certain flower types. Long-tongued bees, for example, can get nectar from trumpet-shaped flowers the short-tongued bees can’t handle. Honey bees and bumble bees both forage on clover, so you could say they compete for clover nectar; but honey bees seldom go for rhododendron while bumble bees seem to like it. Of course the whole competition thing is made more complicated because there are the other 20,000 of bees (worldwide) that also are taking their share.

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