Re: Early spring bumble bee emergence
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Liz Day <lizday44@...> wrote:
>It's quite possible, as I've often noticed honeybees taking sap. It doesn't have to be at taps, though I've seen them there. Hungry honeybees can be a serious nuisance in the syrup boiling process.
> I've often wondered this. Friends suggest bleeding maple or cherry
> sap as possibly "the" early queen food.
> Thoughts? I'd think maple sugarers would notice bumblebees at their
> taps, if this were true.
There is also plenty of winter breakage of twigs most years, and squirrels are notorious for adding more injury - just to get a sweet drink.
I've noticed a few B. impatiens queens already here this year - they have plenty of blossoms to work, most notably redbud right now. And X. virginicus is showing a good increase in population this spring.
My carpenter bees were at a very low point four years ago. I got some salvage lumber during the winter for a project - and it turned out to have a number of nests. When I discovered this, I did not use these pieces, but put them up where the bees could emerge and continue to use them. And they have!
Southeastern blueberry bees showed up on the redbud, then quickly jumped over to our blueberry bushes as they began bloom. So we ought to have a good crop (if there's no more freezes).
- I'm guessing that the queens start out with a reservoir of fat (or
similar resources) from last summer, which will keep them going for a
while when they are nest searching and looking for the first flowers.
I don't think they usually nest where they overwintered, but don't
know whether they tend to spend the night in any particular place
during the interval between emerging after the winter and
establishing a nest.
At 06:14 PM 3/15/2012, you wrote:
>Question for the group. I noted my first bumble bee zooming by
>today, but there is nothing blooming as yet in this part of town.
>Night temps are at or below freezing and days have been in high 30s
>to low 40s. Will queen bumble bees emerge on warm sunny days and
>survive without a food source? It seems that such an energy
>committment would require food to suppport foraging or nest finding
>trips. Also, will the queen return to her burrow as the day ends?
>Any thoughts on this appreciated.
>U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Thanks for the thoughts on the early spring emergence. We have ~ 90% coniferous forest, no maples (except some planted as ornamentals) nor other early blooming trees. Blueberries are a major understory species and will bloom in a few weeks. They are a primary bee food source. Cottonwood flowers here a few weeks later. As we received about 2" new snow last night I do not expect we will see the bumble bees back out for awhile.
Deborah D. Rudis
Environmental Contaminants Biologist
US Fish & Wildlife Service
Ecological Services Field Office
3000 Vintage Blvd. #201
Juneau, Alaska 99801
907/780-1183 fax 907/586-7099 c 907/723-9981
'When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.' John Muir