Shrill Carder Bee Facts
- The distinctively hued Shrill Carder Bee is a rather small species of bumblebee. In fact, this insect is one of the smallest of all known bumblebes. Yet, like other bees, it plays a vital role in our environment.
- Lamentably, the animal is experiencing a rapid decline in their numbers throughout the entirety of their range. In some areas, this bee is now found only in isolated pockets of habitation. Consequently, in one country they inhabit they have now been declared an endangered species.
- The Shrill Carder Bee faces many of the same threats to its existence as other insecs: habitat loss and increased agricultural activity. Widespread use of commercial pesticides also poses a considerable threat to their existence.
Shrill Carder Bee Physical Description
The tiny size of the Shrill Carder Bee is perhaps its most distinguishing feature. Workers reach no more than 0.6 in (15 mm) in length, while queens – 0.7 in (18 mm).
Their coloring is quite unique as well. While most bumblebees are predominantly yellow, this species displays a different pattern. They are usually a grayish green. There is also a single black band across the thorax, and two across the abdomen. Still another unique pattern is the presence of an orange tip on the abdomen.
Though small, they are excellent fliers, capable of moving rapidly. In addition, the wings of the queen actually generate an audible high-pitched buzzing sound in flight.
While capable of stinging, they are rarely aggressive unless threatened. Furthermore, their venom is quite mild and considered relatively harmless.
Species: B. sylvarum
Shrill Carder Bee Habitat and Ecology
While their numbers are diminishing, in terms of area, the Shrill Carder Bee inhabits a wide swathe of Europe. This range extends from the Ural Mountains to Great Britain, Ireland, southern portions of Scandinavia.
Their preferred habitat is specifically herb-rich grasslands. Nests are typically constructed slightly beneath the surface and amid thick vegetation. Occasionally an abandoned vole or mouse nest will be utilized instead. Nests are small, and rarely contain more than 100 workers and one queen.
The species feeds on the nectar and pollen of numerous indigenous flowers.
The bee has been included in the United Kingdom Biodiversity Action Plan due to concerns over their dwindling numbers.