Saturday, April 11, 2015

Bombus Mixtus: This Bee Needs a Home!

As we were working in the Mount Pleasant Community Garden just before supper, we noticed this bumblebee queen sunning herself in a corner of a garden plot. The air was turning cold, and it felt like we might be in for a storm. How I wish she had a cozy little home to shelter inside! Now I am really motivated to make a bumblebee home. (See the post below.) I believe this shaggy bee is Bombus Mixtus. Notice the reddish hairs on her legs--something I've noticed in this species. Is it my imagination or are her wings a tad more reddish in hue than other Bombus? I dug a little divet near her with my pinky finger for a bit of shelter and she waved her arm at me--a classic defense warning: "Don't get too close, lady, or I'll sting you!" For those looking for help identifying Vancouver bees, check out this page by Dr. Elizabeth Elle at Simon Fraser University. She describes B. mixtus as a "boring" bee. I beg to differ! I think she's a shaggy beauty. And check out that mohawk!

We watched a mason bee working in a condo installed on the southeastern side of the garden shed. She needed to stop and sun herself every few minutes to stay warm enough to work. She will tuck herself inside an empty tunnel tonight as the storm passes through the city.

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