How Long Do Bumblebees Live?

Bumblebees, much like butterflies and ladybugs, are a favorite of many. This is mainly because of their mild temperament, and today we will help you understand the lifespan of bumblebees from small details.

Many bees belong to the bumblebee, and there are actually more than 250 species. It would take a long time to list so many different hornets, so today we’ll focus on the most common ones.

What Is The Average Lifespan Of A Bumblebee?

Bumblebees are an important part of the environment. It does not produce as much honey as bees, although honey is essential for its queen and offspring.

However, bumblebees are important pollinators. They are an essential part of the survival of crops in our diet. Without them, there aren’t enough insects to carry pollen between the female and male flowers.

Bumblebee

Bumblebee lifespans vary by species and location. The species we find in tropical climates generally live longer than North American species with harsher climates. It also depends on the role of the individual bee in the colony.

Let’s take a closer look at the different reels and their average lifespans:

Queen Bumblebee

Average lifespan: one year

The queen bumblebee is the creator and mother of the entire colony. Its lifespan begins in late summer, when it emerges from its cocoon in search of food and shelter for the winter break.

As soon as spring arrives, she will wake up and start looking for a safe place to nest, as soon she will start laying eggs. This can be in a bird feeder, a hole in the ground, or even under a shed.

She’ll keep her eggs tight and sit on them to keep them warm. The first group usually consists of worker bees, who quickly take over the task, leaving the queen only responsible for feeding and laying eggs.

The final batch of eggs consists of new queens and males, which repeat the cycle of feeding, mating, hibernating and laying eggs. The queen lives on average about a year. It’s a long lifespan, but she hibernates most of the time.

Worker Bumblebee

Average lifespan: 2-6 weeks

The lifespan of worker bumblebee depends largely on the species and its role in the colony. There are two types of bumblebee workers, those who tend the nest and those who collect pollen and nectar. Workers have an average lifespan of 2 to 6 weeks, depending on species and function.

A specific species called Bombus terricola usually has a much shorter lifespan. Regardless of their role in the colony, these insects rarely have three-week birthdays. Bombus terricola, also known as the yellow-banded bumblebee, is native to Canada and the eastern to Midwestern United States.

The queen bumblebee keeps producing more workers, and once the others die, they take over. For example, bumblebees are very different from bees.

This species continues the same colony by replacing the old queen, while everyone stays in the same hive. However, the worker bumblebee will die before or with the original queen, depending on when she is fully grown.

Bumblebee Male

Average lifespan: 2 weeks

Male bumblebees are very different from queen bumblebee and worker bumblebee. The queen produces them at the same time as the new queen, but the male leaves the nest and never looks back. Their main purpose is to mate with other virgin queens and then die.

Of course, this only applies if they even manage to find and seduce the new queen. Not all males are lucky enough to find a virgin queen; competition is so high that they have to outdo other males.

When they are fully grown, they will move as far away from the nest as possible. This way they don’t accidentally mate with cousins ​​or sisters. Males can fly as far as six miles from the nest to avoid mixing.

Males who fail to mate do not hibernate like queens. They will die in a few weeks, just like the workers.

What Affects The Lifespan Of Bumblebees?

Sickness, accident, bad luck—these are all factors that affect the lifespan of nearly all species. Unfortunately, bumblebees are no exception.

The lifespan of a bumblebee depends on several factors. Some significantly shorten their lifespan. Let’s start with the queen.

Factors That Affect The Queen Bumblebee

Surprisingly, the queen bumblebee faces many threats throughout her life. Her hibernation was the first stage in which she put herself in a vulnerable situation.

A study of the native Turkey bumblebee queen found that when the queen burrows in the ground, she is vulnerable to various parasites. These include types of internal and external fungi, as well as external mites. Some of these parasites are not lethal, but they can affect their ability to reproduce.

Unfortunately, sometimes beekeepers find these queens and bring them to their facility. Upon arrival, the parasite is likely to spread to other overwintering queens.

If the workers kill the queen, her lifespan is also shortened. This is a well-known phenomenon among honeybees, which will willingly kill their queen when their egg-laying slows. However, it is less common among bumblebees.

An interesting study found that changing the lipids in beeswax can signal unfertilized eggs to other females. Females can become very aggressive, which is often referred to as the “competition phase.” It sometimes happens that the queen is overthrown by her workers, i.e. killed.

As For The Bumblebee Workers

It depends on the role of the hornet worker, whether they are observing the nest or foraging.

Workers who spend time in their nests generally live longer. This is mainly because they are protected from outside dangers such as predators and rain. They feed on pollen and nectar from the nest, while producing honey for the queen and larvae.

They can also be severely affected once the competitive phase begins. Workers started producing only male eggs, which in turn causes the colony to perish. The nest turns into carnage, and the worker bees start killing each other.

Foraging worker bumblebee also faces other dangers, such as predators and weather changes, as well as themselves. On average, worker bumblebee can carry up to 25% of their body weight in pollen and nectar.

However, sometimes they are unable to fly due to weight gain. This could mean the end of the worker.

It’s no secret that bumblebees aren’t the best fliers. Rain can really affect their ability to stay in the air, and it’s not uncommon for tired bees to need a rest.

Life Expectancy Risks For Male Bumblebees

Similar to worker bees, drones fly out to pollinate flowers and seek out queens to mate with. This also puts them in a vulnerable position to predators.

Some of the most famous predators that feed on bumblebees include bears, minks, foxes, voles, and shrews, among others. These can also visit nests and take out entire colonies.

In Summary

Bumblebees are one of the most fascinating insects on our planet. They are gentle and rarely sting unless provoked. Nonetheless, their lives are very busy pollinating, mating and producing honey for the next generation.

You might be surprised how long bumblebees live. In fact, the queen has a relatively long lifespan compared to other castes. This is mainly due to the time she spends in hibernation.

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