Natural Enemies of the Bumblebee: A Collage for LMAC#73

in Let's Make a Collage2 months ago (edited)

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Who doesn't love bumble bees? We all know these insects are important to the food chain. In many ecosystems, bumble bees are a keystone species. According to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, "four species of formerly common North American bumble bees have experienced catastrophic declines over the past decade". When it comes to pollinating, bumble bees are even more effective than honey bees.

Pesticides are commonly pointed to as a cause of bumblebee distress. However, other causes are loss of habitat, introduction of non-native diseases, and climate change.

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Bumble bees, however, have always had natural enemies. Among these are several varieties of birds that have adapted to eating bees, despite the dreaded stingers.

Swallow-Tailed Bee Eater Merops Hirundineus Chrysolaimus

Swallow-tailed bee-eater Merops hirundineus_chrysolaimus  credit Charles J. Sharp 4.0.jpg
Image credit: Charles J. Sharp. Used under a CC 4.0 license. The breeding grounds of this colorful bird are in the sub-Sahara savannah woodlands of Africa. If given a choice this bird would prefer to feed on a honey bee. It catches its prey by flying from a perch and intercepting the bee mid-flight. (Information derived from Wikipedia).

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Cinnamon-Chested Bee-Eater Merops Oreobates

Lovey dovey by bee-eaters credit Lip Kee from Singapore, Republic of Singapore 2.0.jpg
Image credit: Lip Kee from Singapore, Republic of Singapore. Used under CC 2.0 license These birds are displaying nesting/mating behavior. This species may be "found in Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda."

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Spiders also, especially crab spiders, feed on bumblebees.

Crab Spider Thomisus Female

Crab_Spider_Thomisus_Female_5741 credit  JonRichfield 3.0.jpg
Image credit:JonRichfield. Used under CC 3.0 license. A crab spider may lie in wait on a flower until a bumblebee is within striking distance. The spider paralyzes and kills the bee by injecting venom. The spider pictured here is known as a flower spider. Some flower spiders can actually change color to blend with the flower in order to be more effective predators. This blending also helps to protect the spiders from predators.

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Flower Crab Spider Diaea

Image credit: Don Home. New Zealand Arthropod Collection. Used under CC 4.0 license. Though this spider is common in several parts of Australia, it is not often seen because of its ability to camouflage by changing color.

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Two Bumblebee Predators Not Featured in My Collage

The Badger and the Fly


Most bumblebees nest underground, although some species nest in trees and in places above ground like bird boxes. Sometimes the bees find a ready-made hole that has been abandoned by another animal. Underground nests are convenient targets for badgers. Badgers have been accused of eating not only the bees, but the whole nest.

Here is a YouTube video showing a badger destroying a bumblebee nest.

Although there are people who believe badgers have a significant negative impact on bumblebee populations, other voices in the conservation community challenge this view. One conservationist website, Brockwatcher's Blog, asserts:“Badgers are major predators of bumblebee nests on the reserve, but the bumblebees thrive despite their depredations.”

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Florida Bee Killer Mallophora Bomboides
Florida Bee Killer Mallophora_bomboides credit Bob Peterson from North Palm Beach, Florida, Planet Earth! 2.0.jpg
Image credit:Bob Peterson from North Palm Beach, Florida, Planet Earth! CC 2.0

This kills by perching on the end of a reed or shrub and swiftly launching into a mid-air attack. Bumblebees are its favorite food.

Naturalists have theories about why the fly looks so much like a bee. It is either aggressive mimicry, which means its appearance allows it to get close to prey. Or, it is a case of defensive mimicry. If the fly looks like a bee, which can sting, some predators might find the insect unappetizing and move on to more harmless prey.

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Bumblebees are prey to many species of animal. The list is almost inexhaustible. I featured here a few of the more interesting and influential of these predators.

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My Collage

The template photo @shaka provided this week was a spectacular nature scene:

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I knew right away I would focus on the flowers and that bees would be part of it. My bees are collecting flowers in baskets, to represent pollen. Two predators are present: a bee-eating bird and a crab spider.

Bumblebee: krzysztofniewolny on Pixabay
Bee-eating bird: makamuki0 on Pixabay
Field of flowers: Hans on Pixabay
Basket, flowers in the basket and spider came from Paint 3D
I added filters from Lunapic to each frame in the GIF
Gimp, Paint and Paint 3D were used to manipulate the pictures and make the GIF (many times !)
I painted in (with Gimp) some elements digitally, such as flowers.

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Thank you, @shaka for another art excursion. Readers of the blog may find many amazing collages featured in the LMAC community. Rules for entering the contest are described on @shaka's blog. Lessons on how to used art tools in making a collage are provided by @quantumg in the LMAC school. And, LMAC even has a Discord channel where the community can meet casually.

I warn you though, weekly collage exercises is addictive. Join us!

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Hive birthday GIF made by me, and anyone can use it.


Wow, that's a beautiful collage there. Wishing you good luck in this round

Thank you very much, friend @dwixer. This was fun to make. We all love bees (until they sting us!). Thanks for your good wishes.

You're welcome

Un cálido collage, y con una nutrida información, gracias por compartirla🤗🤗

Gracias @kismeri!

Thank you very much for your kind words! 🌷🌷
I hope you are peaceful and well.

Gracias por tus buenos deseos🤗🤗

Very nice collage. I really liked the dancing spider. Great pictures of the bumblebees and their natural enemies. I enjoyed reading everything about this subject.

You are very, very kind, @pokerm. It was fun finding those pictures and I did like making that spider dance :) It's really gratifying that you also enjoy my work.

Have a wonderful spring day!

These little bumble bees with these tiny baskets immediately put a huge smile on my face when I noticed them. They are amazing and adorable equally. :-)

The collage provides excellent visual support for the lesson. Very well done!

There was a lot to learn about from this very interesting Edu-College. Many Thanks! I'm looking forward to the next interesting lesson.

Thank you my friend. I had fun putting the flowers in the baskets and helping the bees to escape just in time! The bird is actually true to is a bee-eater.

I appreciate your encouragement. It helps when I'm having a hard time making a collage bend to my will.

Have the most wonderful Wednesday!

Great collage. Love the movement of the bees, bird and spider you created in your collage A.G. True indeed about the dangers to our bees. Good to know there are so many predators to them along with pesticides.

Thank you! I always knew the spider would be in there. The urge to make the spider dance came late. I just liked doing that :)

There have always been predators. That's the cycle. Eat and be eaten. We messed up the cycle and now we're in, the animals and the environment.

Thank you very much for stopping by and for your generosity :)

Most welcome A.G.🙂🌸

!discovery 35

Thank you very much, @phage93!


Ah! what a relaxing moving image!
Makes you look at it for a long time... Good luck in the contest @agmoore

Thank you very much, @gracielaacevedo,
I had fun making this. I liked especially giving the spider a starring role at the end :))

I appreciate your visit and good wishes!

What fun!
I remembered that, when I was little, I loved the TV series *"Las aventuras de Tarzán, el hombre mono". I remember that in a square meter of jungle Tarzan saved himself from an anaconda attack, swam among piranhas, choked a crocodile and shook off a tarantula.

Hehehehe... Just kidding. It's a lovely and vibrant collage. Very beautiful.

Tu post no tiene desperdicio.
Un abrazote!

Hello @adncabrera, How silly I am with a dancing bee :)) I liked learning about those spiders though. Amazing that they can change color. I never knew that about spiders.

Thank you so much for visiting and for your kind words. I love it when you come by. You always have an interesting anecdote.

Warm regards my friend @adncabrera

Spiders are fascinating. I didn't know they could change color either, and where I live, we have very interesting live collections of all kinds of bugs. I once saw a spider that looked like a popcorn. When the hatchlings came out of the eggs, it looked like a packet of popcorn had gone for a walk in the garden.
Un abrazo enorme, querida @agmoore. Seguiré por aquí, aunque la vida me presione para ir a otras partes.

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Your support is very much appreciated, @discovery-it. It is encouraging.

Hi, I have always loved your ability to create a story with your collage.

Those stories always have a call of attention, towards the history or the conservation of the species.

The bumblebees are beautiful, the photo of the spider crab has beautiful colors even though its poison paralyzes the bumblebees.

Thank you so much for your kind words, and for your visit to my blog. I love learning about nature. I love writing. And I love making collages. It all comes together on LMAC. How lucky I am! It's even more fund when I get great feedback like this!

Not everyone appreciates nature blogs. I'm so glad you do. Have a most peaceful day.

Omg a spider in the middle, almost to scared to vote
But what a great addition to include it and making it a giphy , good luck in the contest and the dpoll,
And have a great monday collager

Thank you so much for your visit, @brittandjosie. Yes, those spiders are both beautiful and scary. The one in your giphy is just scary--the kind of thing you hope never runs out of your shoe :)

You have a great Wednesday. See you soon at LMAC!

Beautiful collage about bees, nature is incredible if some of the animals that are there die because of, for example, the damage caused by man with fertilizers, the natural balance is broken and in this way the bees or others are extinguished species, it is something that we must take care of and avoid cutting down the trees that cause serious damage to the environment, in turn this harms ourselves by affecting the ozone layer.

Thank you for visiting my blog. Nature often figures in your collages. We have that in common. And balance also...forces for good against nefarious forces. This also figures in many of your collages. I thought of you when my bees escaped. Nobody gets hurt in the collage. That also reminds me of your collages.

Best wishes to you and your family!

If friend, I like nature a lot, animals, all the things that many times one does not pay attention to but that are part of our environment. Greetings.

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Thank you!!

You're welcome @agmoore, well done! 😊