I've discovered I have bees in my roof space. They fly in and out of a hole under the eves during the day.
I captured one, put it in a jar, then popped it in the freezer for a few minutes. He remained asleep while I took these photos:
Underside (note greyish hairs on abdomen):
He was fine afterwards, by the way.
Can anyone identify?
Superficially it looks like a female Hairy-footed Flower bee, but there are no yellow hairs on the hind legs and the tongue is not hanging out. However, from the side view there appear to be two very faint bands of yellow hairs on the thorax, so there is a chance that this is the dark form of Bombus ruderatus or a dark form of Bombus hortorum.That said I wouldn't associate either with an aerial nest. Any chance of catching another and taking some more images?
... Any chance of catching another and taking some more images?
Today's specimen looks more like a typical bumble bee (to my untrained eye) with a significant splash of orange on the back of the thorax. Maybe yesterday's was an oddity. See pictures here: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/easley/bees/specimen2/
Thanks for your interest.
I popped up into the loft last night and took these pictures of the nest and some bees in the immediate vicinity:
They were still active at 10pm (probably mainly due to the disturbance), but it was a mild evening.
Apart from the strange structures on the outside (honey pots?) the nest appeared to be completely embedded in a piece of loft insulation (the non-itch variety, made out of recycled plastic bottles).
Note smallbee1 and 2. Difficult to appreciate from the photos but these were significantly smaller than the main bees, perhaps half the size.
That's better and now makes sense. This is the Tree Bumblebee, Bombus hypnorum. This is a new-ish species in the UK having colonised from mainland Europe and first observed in the in 2001. Since then it has colonised surprisingly quickly the south and there are increasing midlands and northern records. It is another species that does well in urban and suburban gardens. It is an aerial nesting species, using hollows in trees bird boxes and your loft space. The first images were of a dark form and a few of the workers in your latest images show a tendency towards this also.
If you could provide locality details (grid ref., post code etc). I will pass onto the Bees, Wasp & Ants recording scheme. Please send to my email address firstname.lastname@example.org