Bird, bug, butterfly and a wild variety of photos from Belarus, Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Scotland and Spain by Irish wildlife photographer Patrick J. O'Keeffe and invited guests

Thursday, 26 May 2022

BUFF TAILED BUMBLEBEE (Bombus terrestris) queen nectar robbing from a Granny's Bonnet / Columbine Plant (Aquilegia ssp.) at Saint Anne's Park and Rose Gardens, Clontarf East, Raheny, Co. Dublin, Ireland


 
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The Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) is of the family Apidae which is in the genus Bombus. This species is commonly found throughout the temperate regions of Europe, The Middle East, northern Africa and has been introduced to other countries including Australia (Tasmania), Japan as well as parts of South America. 
It is not normally seen in Ireland during the colder months of the year. In late autumn the worker bees and the males (drones) die off and the gravid queen hibernates for the winter. In recent times, it has been on the wing all year round mainly at coastal locations where shrubs such as Hebe (Hebe × franciscana), Gorse (Ulex europaeus) and Fuchsia (Fuchsia magellanica) have continued to flower in mild winters.
Aquilegias produce their nectar in spurs which project from the rear of the flower head and are pollinated by long tonged insects, including hawkmoths. Short tonged insects, such as bumblebees, use a method known as nectar robbing and penetrate or cut into the plant's spurs to extract this rich food source. As a results no pollination takes place. In North America aquilegias are also pollinated by hummingbirds.  

Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds