Heath Bumblebee

My new bumblebee sighting has been confirmed as a Heath Bumblebee or Bombus jonellus. This brings to a total of eight the number of bumblebee species we have recorded in the garden and also one cuckoo bumblebee. There are twenty bumblebee species in Ireland in total so we’ve less than half. Six of the twenty are cuckoo bumbles. The cuckoo bumblebee queens use the nests of their hosts – the true bumbles. They take over the nest, getting rid of the ‘real’ queen. The new queen then lays her eggs which the workers then unknowingly care for.

Heath bumblebee (male)

Heath bumblebee (male)

So far I have only seen male Heath bumblebees. The males will travel further than the females and will also utilize a greater variety of plants for foraging. Though so far I have only seen it using the comfrey.

Meanwhile, last night our weather forecasters were predicting a possible ‘grass frost’ as temperatures were to drop to only 4 degrees Celcius. So I spent some time covering my french and runner beans and my courgette plants with fleece. It is unusual for us to get such low temperatures in early June. Thankfully we seem to have got away with it!


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