Bumble bee in my wool

When I was looking into a shoe box with some beautiful Finnwool (aka Finnish Landrace aka Finnsheep), I noticed some dark spots. When I carefully pulled the top layer of wool away, I found this:

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Two dead bumble bees and two pupas. At least I think they’re empty pupas, please correct me if I’m wrong! Anyway, not a good place to make a nest, as the bumble bees get caught in the wool. They also seem to have been attacked by something. I have no idea what that predator may have been. It wasn’t easy to get into the box.

I think they are what’s called the Large Earth Bumble Bee, common in many places in Europe. We had a lot of different bumble bees last summer, and obviously some of them have tried to make nests in our attic.

There was still nectar in the wool, I hope you can see it in the photo:

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It’s sticky, but I didn’t taste it. Probably sweet.

I’ve wanted to have bumble bees as pets ever since I was a child. Every summer I want to stroke those wonderful insects, but I have some bad memories from earlier years that make me take a step back. So I don’t stroke them, even if the temptation is strong.

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4 comments

  1. Marilyn F.

    What a wonderful find for you to have bees in your wool!! I wonder what attracted them to it? Did you try to stroke the dead ones to see if they are as soft as they appear? Ah, yes, being stung by bees as a youngster always makes one fearful and cautious, but I don’t think honey bees are particularly aggressive unless they are threatened or are in a swarm. Although I think stepping on them is a fairly common childhood event when they are in the clover. Its yellow jackets and wasps that will attack and sting more than once, the honey bee has only one sting in it. But you probably know all this already. And of course as beautiful as the honey bee is – we all love what they produce – honey. Thanks for sharing.

    • Barbro Heikinmatti

      Ah, but these are bumble bees, a different species than honey bees. Our garden is visited by honey bees also, a neighbour keeps a few beehives. I counted at least 5 species of bumble bees last summer, all of them in that same flower you see in my blog post. Some were small, some really big. I also know now what the “pupas” are: empty cocoons that have been covered with wax and used as containers.

      • Marilyn F.

        Ah, it must be wonderful for you to be surrounded by so much beautiful nature with your 5 species of bumble bees and garden. Sounds like you have your own piece of heaven right there.

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