Wednesday, 28 August 2013

How to contact me

I've been away from the blog for a while simply because I've been busy with the web site.  My feedback page in the web site got hacked and was being used to send spam email.  Then I tried to make a feedback page with a captcha (sorry to anyone who doesn't understand all this - I wish I didn't have to learn it all, but I do).  Anyway after learning about captchas and making a feedback page with one and getting it to work (not easy for someone as useless as me) I read that the bots are now able to spam captchas too!  So, new idea.  If anyone wants to contact me about the bumblebee.org website they can do it through the blog.  I trust Google will be able to stop the spammers better than I can and this will mean I don't get scary emails from my web host threatening to remove my site forever and ever and ever (I exaggerate slightly).

So post any questions you have in the comments box below and I'll post them and answer them as best I can.  For me to answer your question it helps if you can let me know as much as poss., location, time, plant the animal was on, etc.

16 comments:

  1. Just came on the site to identify the former residents of a colony that I've just removed the remains of from the attic. Looks like they were bombus hypnorum (ginger abdomen, white tails), which you say is relatively unusual, so glad now that I held up the roofline work until they were gone. We live on the edge of arable fields in Cambridgeshire, so I was glad that they'd come to live in our loft rather than somewhere that they might come into contact with pesticides. I have a couple of photos if you would be interested, otherwise, thanks for the info-it's a lovely site!

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    1. Hypnorum is becoming more and more common every year. It has now spread up through England and entered southern Scotland, so I may have to move it to the common species page.

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  2. Hi there,
    Thank you for all of the wonderful information about the bumble bee. It's great to have all of this information in one place about these amazing creatures.

    I have a 30-second video I took of a bumble bee waking up in the morning, climbing on top of a flower, and then doing a little dance. I wish I had gotten his entire routine on video, but only started videoing right near the end. I assume the guy is cleaning himself. The bee appears to be using his legs much like a cat would use its paw to clean its face. The bee wiped over his whole body, one area at a time, including each leg, adjusting which legs he used for cleaning to keep balance. It look like windshield wipers when he was "cleaning" his back with his legs. He then took a big shake, and began collecting pollen.

    I would enjoy hearing your take on this. Have you seen this behavior before? Is it indeed a "morning shower"? If you'd like to see the video, I'm happy to share.

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  3. This has been a wonderful resource for me as I have been planting native plants for pollinators and wildlife and have taken the fear I had of bees away. They are so interesting. It is getting colder here and there are eastern bumble bees on the sunflowers and dandelions in the morning... Michelle

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  4. I forgot to say that I live in the states in New York, but the info at the web site is still very helpful...Michelle

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  5. The pictures in the section antenna are made by me some years ago when I was working for FEI. The SEM images are made with a FEI Quanta 200 scanning electron microscope. I would appriciate some recognision of this by mentioning my and/or company name. Anyhow I wonder how you got these images.

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    1. Hi,
      A CD of SEM images of a bumblebee were given to me a long time ago by someone in Holland. Originally the person wrote to me for advice on a bumblebee nest that he had in his garden. Later he asked if I'd be interested in some images and he sent the CD. I was delighted with them and asked him how he wished to be credited. He replied that he didn't want any credit and was thankful for the advice. I never publish images on the web site from outsiders unless I have their permission, some wish to be credited or have a link to their own pages, some wish to remain anonymous. If you have proof that you own copyright to these images then I will remove them from the site or credit you as the owner of the copyright. All I can say is that they have been on my web site for over 10 years, and your name is not the name of the person who gave the CD to me and whom I believed to be the copyright holder.

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  6. Hi ive just found a big bumblebee in my garden moving slowly on closer inspection ive seen its infested with tiny orange insects on its belly where the abdomen attachs to the chest what can they be ive captured it just incase

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  7. Hi,
    The tiny orange things are probably mites. They use the bumblebee as a means of transport to a bumblebee nest where they eat debris. The bumblebee you've found might be moving slowly because it is too cold to fly. You can feed it by offering it a mix of 50/50 sugar and water, but be careful not to wet the bee. If she can drink this will give her enough energy to fly to flowers.
    If you are in the UK she may be a queen who has emerged too early. In which case if there are flowers available she may live, but if there are no flowers available then she will die unless you are willing to feed her throughout the winter. This is a lot to ask. Good luck.

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  8. Hi Laura, thanks for your wonderful site. I have searched your information and have not found an answer to my question, which is the following. Whenever I have a dish/bowl/cup of water in the garden that fills with water (following a rain), I usually find one or two dead bumblebees in it if I don't get it emptied out right away. This doesn't happen in larger containers like a bird bath. What do you think is going on here? Thanks for any insight.

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  9. There are two possibilities that come to mind. Firstly the small container may have steep sides that make it impossible for a waterlogged bumblebee to crawl up. and secondly the roughness of the sides - bigger container such as bird bath tend to have rougher sides that would enable the bumblebee to get a foothold.
    In my garden I have got into the habit of leaving all buckets etc upside down or else with a stick in them. It is not just bumblebees that get trapped. Last year I had a frog stuck in the large bucket that collects rainwater off my greenhouse. I was amazed to find it there.

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    1. Thanks Laura. I guess I was wondering why are they going to the container of water in the first place? Are they actually trying to drink? I don't find other bees in there, it's always bumble bees. Maybe they don't know the container is full of water and they try to land in it. These are usually old tea cups, creamers etc. that I have out for decoration. They are all glazed shiny white inside. I try to keep them emptied of water every day. Could it be a light spectrum thing that attracts them? On the other hand though, why wouldn't other bees be attracted?

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    2. I think it must just be accidental as white is not normally a very attractive colour to bees unless accompanied by a fragrance or UV patterns leading to nectar - I don't imagine either of these is the case here. Perhaps some reflection off the water surface is confusing them.
      Rgds
      Laura

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  10. Everywhere says to use the sugar.water mix but mine won't touch it. They inspect and leave. They do, however, love straight honey and happily lick it all.
    Why should I not just give them this if they don't like the watery mix? Mine are Bombus ruderatus I think, quite large, love white clover, happily eat in Veronica, a variety of Hibiscus, garden produce etc...A male? spent last night on the back of one of my grape leaves, went to bed at around 7pm - dusk was 8pm, happily resumed his flight this morning about 8:30am.

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  11. Hi,
    I give honey too, and for the same reason. I give locally produced organic honey. Honey can contain whatever bugs the honeybees it is taken from have, it may also contain pesticide/herbicide residues in tiny amounts, so that is why I and others advocate sugar/water mix. It is the smell in the honey that attracts the bumblebees and this makes it much easier to feed them, but if they are fed with honey they can pick up whatever bugs are in the honey, and that would spread disease to the entire nest. It is a dilemma.

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  12. Well it is commercial honey....bought from the supermarket.
    They won't touch the sugar/water.

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