Meet the Yellow-Banded Bumble Bee
This summer, Science North has teamed up with Wildlife Preservation Canada and University of Guelph to be a test site for their nest box project! The yellow-banded bumble bee is one of the many species of bees in Ontario that we’re hoping to see. I asked my new bumble bee scientist friends to give me some cool facts about the yellow-banded bumble bee, so here are the things they want you to know about this very cool and beautiful species!
Cool Facts About the Yellow-banded Bumble Bee!
- Yellow-banded bumble bees have shorter tongues compared to other bumble bee species, and so to get the nectar from some flowers, they rob them! They make a little hole in the base of the flower and steal the nectar from there!
- They buzz-pollinate by grabbing a flower with their mouth and vibrating their wings to shake pollen loose! That means they are very efficient pollinators and can use pollen that would be otherwise hard to get to.
- The yellow-banded bumble bee is probably one of many species visiting your garden during the summer months; however, like most pollinators across Canada, their numbers have been declining. Here in Ontario they are listed as a species of special concern.
How can we help the yellow-banded bumble bee?
The scientists at Wildlife Preservation Canada (WPC) and the University of Guelph (UofG) are trying to figure out what yellow-banded bumble bee population numbers are in the wild and to get some information on their nesting behaviours. WPC has a super amazing program called the Native Pollinator Initiative, which targets not only the yellow-banded bumble bee, but two species of native butterfly as well. Their goal is to successfully raise yellow-banded bumble bees in artificial nests to learn more about their biology and to eventually be able to release mated queens into the wild to boost their population!
Citizen Science and the yellow-banded bumble bee.
Science North currently has 80 nest boxes on-site and we are monitoring them for bumble bee occupation (Spoiler…some of them have bumbles in them!!!). We won’t know if the bees nesting in these boxes are yellow-banded bumble bees until the fall when the colony dies off and we can go and look inside the boxes, but I can say that we’ve seen some yellow-banded bumble bees at Science North when we’ve been out identifying bumble bees for BumblebeeWatch!
Part of our partnership with WPC includes a 10% donation of the donations we get for this Citizen Science Project! You may not know that Science North is a registered charity (#10796 2979 RR0001), and on our citizen science webpage (here) there is a button where you can donate to our Citizen Science efforts. Every little bit helps towards the conservation of yellow-banded bumble bees AND helps us do more amazing projects like this one in the future!