The Bumble bee (Bombus Spp) is the genius of over 250 species of one of the Apidae family of Bees. They can be found in high altitudes or latitudes in the northern hemisphere, and some parts of South America where a few lowland tropical species have been seen.
Most bumblebees are social insects that live in colonies with a single queen. The colonies are usually smaller with about 50 individuals. The females can sting multiple times but mostly ignore humans and animals. Reproductive and social behavior vary from specie to specie. The cuckoo bumble bee for example, do not make their own nest, rather the Queen attacks the nest of other bumble bee species, kill the queen then lay eggs which are cared for by the host workers.
Bumble bees have round bodies covered in contrasting alternating colored soft hair called pile which make them look fuzzy. Their coloration is a warning sign to predators or invaders. In a nesting bumble bee, the females hind legs are modified to form a pollen basket.
The Queen hatches eggs in two differing season. The first set are born as workers while the unfertilized eggs laid toward the end of summer become new queens (female) and drones (male). The eggs hatch into a larvae which mature and metamorphose into workers, drones or Queens. The Queen incubates the eggs and feeds the Larvae afterwards.
Bumble bees are active in cooler weather that cause honeybees to stay home, and can easily absorb heat from weak sunlight. Their thick pile acts as insulation against cold. Bumble bees are important pollinators of many plants. Pollens are collected by both the workers and the Queen. Workers born early in the year are small while those born later in the year are bigger. The differences in body size (especially tongue length) are key in determining which flower species a bumble bee visits for nectar and which flowers they will pollinate. Because of honey bee concerns, Bumble bee colonies are now used widely in greenhouse pollination of crops like strawberries and tomatoes.