Texas bumble bee
Of the thousands of bees native to North America, bumble bees are among the most recognizable and best known. Bumble bees are considered particularly effective native pollinators given their generalist floral preferences, large texas bumble bee size, cold tolerance, and ability to buzz pollinate. Several hundred native flowering plant species are visited and pollinated by bumble bees, an tdxas that serves to maintain the ecological integrity of natural communities. Bumble bees also also make substantial contributions to agriculture and have proven to be highly effective pollinators of economically important crops including blueberries, cucumbers, peppers, pumpkins, tomatoes, and watermelons. Bumble bee decline, in the form of texxas and regional extirpations, is a phenomenon that has been well-documented in the United Kingdom and several other European nations. Evidence of a similar read article dilemma in North America was largely anecdotal until when declines were first quantified for bumble bee species in Illinois and Ontario, Canada.
One of my favorite sessions at the annual Master Naturalist conference was about bumblebees of Texas. Michael Warriner, Texas Parks and Wildlife Division, provided an interesting look into the see more cycle of bumblebees. He began by differentiating between honeybees and bumblebees, and then provided examples of insects that are often mistaken for bumblebees. He identified Bumnle species of bumblebees, and the bumblebee life cycle. Two flying insects often confused with bumblebees are the More info Clearwing mothand the eastern carpenter bee. Whereas bees will actually land on plants, the moth will hover in front of the plant much like a hummingbird. The eastern carpenter bee is the insect most often confused as a bumblebee.
The Secret Life of Bumblebees
Nine bumble bee species are currently known to occur in Texas. That is not an overwhelming number to familiarize yourself with. Just think of https://magnanova-festival.de/media/best-dating-apps-for-50.php the species bird-watchers have to learn! With some patience and study, you should be able to familiarize yourself with the bumble bees that occur bbee the state. Like many other insect groups, accurate identification of bumble bee species can be a little tricky.
Everyone knows the buzz that bees have been associated with human cultures for thousands of years. When we think of bees, we usually think of honeybees and their geometric hives full of honey. What many may not know is that honeybees are a relatively recent introduction to North America. While the first European colonists brought click to see more here in the s, Texas actually hosts hundreds of other bee species that are native. Their fuzzy black-and-yellow bodies are easy to recognize as they buzz from plant to plant gathering nectar and pollen. Many of us who article source chance encounters with bumle in gardens or parks likely know little about the different texxs that inhabit Texas, the role these insects play in producing some of our favorite foods bumblf the threats endangering their continued survival.
They will not excavate their own nest site. Some preferred bumblebee nest sites are rodent burrows, overturned pots, and others of the like. Bumblebees are considered social insects, meaning that each colony has a caste system in which each individual bee has a task or tasks that they are responsible for.
The different castes in a bumblebee colony are: the queen, female workers, and males. The queen is solely responsible for laying eggs, whereas the female workers take on the tasks of foraging, brood care, nest maintenance, and defense. The males have no task other than to mate with reproductive females. A colony is founded by one mated female the foundress queen that overwintered alone. In the early spring she will search for a new nest site, start constructing the nest, and forage for pollen and nectar.
Once stores have been collected, the queen will lay eggs that will emerge into female workers. Soon after the female workers emerge, the queen assumes the task of egg-laying and will never leave the nest, while the female workers take on the other tasks needed to maintain the colony.
In the mid- to late summer reproductive females and males are reared. Only large colonies will produce queens because they have the worker force to gather enough resources to feed the developing queens. Small colonies will only produce males and no queens. Adult male bumblebees leave the nest soon after emergence and never return. They spend their days feeding on nectar and defending territories with the hopes of attracting a new queen.
Once a queen has been mated she will spend the rest of the summer and fall feeding and building up fat reserves to survive through the winter. Southern plains bumble bee. Courtesy of Jessica Womack. Based on International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List criteria, those authors ranked eight of the 11 declining bumble bee species as critically endangered to endangered and in need of habitat protection efforts.
Factors contributing to bumblebee decline on this continent have not been well-defined, but potentially include introduced pathogens as well as loss and degradation of suitable open, flower-rich habitats. Given declines in managed European honey bee colonies, loss of native, generalist pollinators such as bumble bees could have significant ramifications for North American agriculture.
Reductions in native pollinators could also have deleterious impacts on native plant reproduction and terrestrial ecosystem maintenance. Given their economic and ecological values, assessments are needed to gain a better understanding of the conservation status of bumble bee's in Texas.
The state's bumble bee fauna had largely gone unstudied for over hundred years until field and citizen-science surveys were initiated by TPWD's Nongame and Rare Species Program Bumble bees Hymenoptera: Apidae of Texas: historical distributions. This work has grown to include partnerships with researchers at the University of North Texas and University of Texas at Austin.
Documented observations of bumble bees in Texas are needed to assess where species occur and if they are persisting across the landscape.