White-tailed Bumble Bee
Bumble Bees are some of the most social creatures in the animal kingdom, and are quite gentile and docile when one gets up close to one as I did while observing this one. They generally are not inclined to sting unless you disturb their nest normally located in the ground.
Bumble Bee's live in colonies consisting of 50 to 500 individuals. A dominant female called the Queen rules the colony. The other bees serve her or gather food or care for developing larvae. In the late fall, the entire colony dies,except for the Queen.
After waking from hibernation, the Queen finds food and looks for a good location for a nest. Once the nest is found, she lays her eggs and stores food for herself and the babies. She sits on her eggs for two weeks to keep them warm. When the eggs hatch, the Queen feeds pollen to to the baby bees called larvae.
At two weeks old, the larvae spin cocoons around themselves and stay there until they develop into adult bees. The Queen only takes care of the first batch of babies. The first batch grows into worker bees that clean and guard the nest, find food, and take care of the next batch of baby bees. The Queen is left to do nothing but lay and hatch new eggs.
Bees born in late summer are male bees, called drones, and future queen bees. Both leave the best as soon as they mature. The males from other nests mate with future Queens and die.
After mating, the future Queens fatten themselves up and hibernate throughout the winter.
In the spring, the cycle repeats itself.
Now you know.
Click on the photo for a closer look.....