Drone Bumblebees

Male bumblebees, also know as drones as pretty transient. They don’t hang about for long. Once they leave their nest they fly around for a few weeks looking for females to mate with and then, job done, they just die off. It is the new females queens that will hibernate and start a new colony the following spring.

This year, drones of both Early Bumblebees and Heath Bumblebees are appearing earlier than expected here in Ireland. No one is quite sure why yet. It may be due to the strange weather we are experiencing, or it could be that these species are having two generations a year.

Many drone bees can be distinguished by the yellow hairs on their faces. The drone will often fly further than the females. So while this is the second year I have seen Heath bumble drones in my garden, I have yet to see a female Heath.

Heath Bumblebee

Heath Bumblebee (Bombus jonellus)

And I near forgot to add solstice greetings!!


18 thoughts on “Drone Bumblebees

  1. dust4y

    I am amazed that you can identify such miniature details on these splendid creatures. Let’s hope that the 2 generation thing is the answer to earlier sightings.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      The males are so gorgeous with all this extra yellow – but yes climate change is already having an impact – albeit some positive, are some southern Europe species are beginning to move north and I think I read that similar is happening is US



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