Bombus hypnorum worker was seen on 30 and 31 Dec 2015.

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colonus
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Bombus hypnorum worker was seen on 30 and 31 Dec 2015.

Hallo All,

A Bombus hypnorum worker was seen on 30 and 31 Dec 2015 at Yateley, Hampshire. This is the first time that I have been aware of evidence of a winter nest of B.hypnorum in the UK.

The autumn and early winter have been exceptionally mild and I have seen bumblebees on 58 out of the last 62 days.

On 30 Nov I saw a B.hypnorum queen collecting pollen and nectar on Lonicera fragrantissima on three separate occasions during the day at Yateley, Hants. On the next day, 01 Dec and on 03 Dec she was again seen collecting pollen.

On 16 Dec a B.hypnorum queen was seen nectaring on Mahonia x media in the Valley Gardens at Windsor Great Park. This equals the latest date in the year on which I have seen a B.hypnorum queen. (There was a queen nectaring on Rhododendron pachysanthum on 16 Dec 2014 in the Valley Gardens).

Wednesday 30 December was overcast and very windy but fairly mild, in the wake of the winter depression named "Storm Frank". In spite of the poor weather conditions there were a few Bombus terrestris active. My wife thought she had seen a Bombus hypnorum worker during the morning. Early in the afternoon (at 14:05) I had a clear view of a B.hypnorum worker collecting pollen and nectar for a couple of minutes. A few minutes later (at 14:15) I saw it again for a couple of minutes. I was able to identify and confirm that this was a B.hypnorum worker. The weather was poor and the branches of the Lonicera bush were blowing around and there were a few spots of rain in the wind.

On the next day, Thursday 31 December, the morning was mostly clear and sunny, breezy and fairly mild. There was more cloud in the afternoon. The B.hypnorum worker was seen again at 13:50 when it was nectaring on the Lonicera again for 10 minutes continuously. A few minutes later (at 14:05) it returned for a second shorter visit of about 2 minutes.

Yesterday was rather cold and overcast with rain from mid-afternoon. Today has been overcast and very wet. In spite of this B.terrestris workers were seen yesterday and queens have been seen on both days. However the B.hypnorum worker has not been seen again.

I would be interested to know if any other members have seen B.hypnorum queens collecting pollen this autumn and if there have been any other reports of B.hypnorum workers.

Steve
16:55 Saturday 02 January 2016.
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Nigel Jones
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Joined: 11/11/2011 - 20:07
Hi SteveAll I have seen (in

Hi Steve

All I have seen (in Shrewsbury) is a single B.hypnorum visiting Lonicera in mid December along with several B. terrestris workers which were collecting pollen. The B. hypnorum appeaerd to be a queen and I could see no evidence of pollen collection on her. That's been my only siting so far of B. hypnorum.

 

Nigel

 

colonus
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Last seen: 2 years 7 months ago
Joined: 02/04/2013 - 20:34
Bombus hypnorum worker seen on 30 and 31 Dec 2015

Hallo Nigel

Thank you for your comment. It is certainly interesting to hear that you have seen a B.hypnorum queen in"mid-December" at Shrewsbury. The exceptionally mild weather during November and December has certainly resulted in a lot of bumblebee activity, at least in the southern counties.

There appears to be an increasing tendency for B.hypnorum queens to be active in the late autumn and early winter. The latest dates in previous years that I have seen a B.hypnorum queen are:-
12 Nov 2009
04 Nov 2010
03 Dec 2011
19 Aug 2012
06 Dec 2013
16 Dec 2014
16 Dec 2015

B.hypnorum queens have only been observed collecting pollen in the late autumn in four of these years. The latest dates for collecting pollen are:-
12 Nov 2009
03 Dec 2011
10 Dec 2014
16 Dec 2015

This winter there is now the first evidence of a queen successfully establishing a new colony with 1 worker seen on 30 and 31 Dec 2015. There have been no further sightings in the last four days due to poor weather. With the current cooler conditions it is quite possible that this nest will fail because of the lack of suitable flowers and restricted opportunities for foraging.

Best regards
SteveF
19:50 Monday 04 Jan 2016
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