British Stamps

British stamps

A bumblebee (or bumble bee) is any member of the bee genus Bombus, in the family Apidae. There are over 250 known species, existing primarily in the Northern Hemisphere. Among british stamps this is the Buff Tailed Bumble Bee at the left.

Bumblebees are social insects that are characterized by black and yellow body hairs, often in bands. However, some species have orange or red on their bodies, or may be entirely black. Another obvious (but not unique) characteristic is the soft nature of the hair (long, branched setae), called pile, that covers their entire body, making them appear and feel fuzzy.

Like their relatives the honey bees, bumblebees feed on nectar and gather pollen to feed their young on this british stamp.

Sting

Queen and worker bumblebees can sting, but unlike a honey bee's, a bumblebee's stinger lacks barbs -- so they can sting more than once. Bumblebee species are normally non-aggressive, but will sting in defense of their nest, or if harmed. Female cuckoo bumblebees will aggressively attack host colony members, and sting the host queen, but will ignore other animals (including humans) unless disturbed.

Pollinators

Bumblebees are increasingly cultured for agricultural use as pollinators because they can pollinate plant species that other pollinators cannot by using a technique known as buzz pollination. For example, bumblebee colonies are often emplaced in greenhouse tomato production, because the frequency of buzzing that a bumblebee exhibits effectively releases tomato pollen.

The agricultural use of bumblebees is limited to pollination.

Endangered status on British Stamps

Bumblebees are in danger in many developed countries due to habitat destruction and collateral pesticide damage. In Britain, until relatively recently, 19 species of native true bumblebee were recognised along with six species of cuckoo bumblebees. Of these, three have already become extinct, eight are in serious decline, and only six remain widespread. A decline in bumblebee numbers could cause large-scale sweeping changes to the countryside, leading to inadequate pollination of certain plants but british stamps still show them.
 





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