A bumblebee, also written bumble bee, is a member of the bee genus Bombus, in the family Apidae. The brood parasitic or cuckoo bumblebees have sometimes been classified as a subgenus or genus, Psithyrus, but are now usually treated as members of Bombus. This genus is the only extant group in the tribe Bombini, though a few extinct related genera (e.g., Calyptapis) are known from fossils. Over 250 species are known, found primarily in higher latitudes or at higher altitude in the Northern Hemisphere, although they also occur in South America; however, a few lowland tropical species are known. European bumblebees have been introduced to New Zealand and Tasmania.
Bumblebees are social insects which form colonies with a single queen. Colonies are smaller than those of honeybees, growing to as few as 50 individuals in a nest. Female bumblebees can sting repeatedly, but generally ignore humans and other animals. Cuckoo bumblebees do not make nests; their queens aggressively invade the nests of other bumblebee species, kill the resident queens and then lay their own eggs which are cared for by the resident workers.
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July 10th, 2015
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