Archive for August 10th, 2012

Wildlife: Bumblebee Watching

Friday, August 10th, 2012

Map of Bumblebees Historic Range in Texas

Map of Bumblebees’ Historic Range in Texas

This is Passport to Texas

Do you like the idea of bird watching, but don’t have the time or patience to learn about every bird out there? Maybe you should try bumblebee watching, instead.

12— Bumblebees could be a new kind of hobby for folks. Birdwatchers have to learn hundreds of birds. There are only nine bumblebees [species] in Texas. And so it’s just a matter of learning their color patterns.

Michael Warriner is an invertebrate biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife, and curates the website

18— In Texas, we have nine bumblebee species. And, fortunately, bumblebees are large bees; they’re pretty noticeable because they have a pattern of black and yellow. But, each one of the nine differs a little bit in terms of how much yellow they have on – let’s say – on the front part of their body versus the rear….

More than a pleasant hobby, tracking these insects – and reporting back to biologists like Michael Warriner – can provide needed information about the status of bumblebees in Texas. What you may not know is …these native bees are facing threats.

16—They’ve lost habitat. Pesticide use is another concern. And also, there’s been the importation of bumblebees from Europe into this country, which has brought in parasites and diseases that may be impacting them. So, there’s a lot of concern how they’re faring in North America.

Find a chart on bumblebee identification and where to report your sightings, when you visit Michael Warriner’s website:

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.