Monday, July 19, 2010
Bombus impatiens to be exact. The Common Eastern Native Bumblebee has a range from Florida to Maine, across to Kansas and Tennessee, even as far as the Dakotas; and it has been introduced in California and British Columbia since the failures of Western Native Bumblebees. Although most likely found as a wild bee, they are raised commercially for use in pollinating greenhouse tomatoes and the Maine blueberry crops. Bombus are particularly fond of blueberry blossoms and will fly to visit them even on cold or misty-rainy days. They are vegetarian, eating only nectar and pollen. (Pollen is actually a protein!) Like most bumbles the Common Eastern Native Bumblebee produces no stores of honey for the winter. Unlike honeybees who survive the winter on their honey stores, the social colony of 300-500 bumblebees will die in the fall. The newly mated bumblebee queen is the only survivor. She goes into hibernation in the ground emerging in the spring to begin a new colony.