- Apis pratorum Linnaeus, 1761
Early-nesting Humble-bee, Early Humble-bee, Early-nesting bumblebee, Early bumblebee
No status defined
Value of species
One of 50 species of the subgenus Pyrobombus. One of 250 world known species of the genus Bombus, and one of 40 bumblebee species in the fauna of Ukraine.
Distribution: Palaearctic Region, Arctic border (Europe east to Yakutsk [Russia]).
Introductions: This species was deliberately introduced into Sydney, Australia, but is not known to have persisted (Oliff, 1895). Untill the 20-th century the species was not known in Ireland, where it is now well established.
A common small species, with a short tongue, emerging in early spring, and nesting below the surface of the ground, though sometimes on the surface under objects, or above the surface in cavities. This species nests particularly early in the year. It is less often seen in late summer and these records may often be for bees reared in secondary nests by queens, produced earlier in the same year. Colonies are small and relatively mild tempered when disturbed.
Bombus pratorum is one of the most widespread bumblebees of the West-Palaearctic region. It is one of the most common species after B. pascuorum, B. terrestris and B. lapidarius. Its range extends from the shores of the Arctic Ocean to very close to those of the Mediterranean. Although B. pratorum is very common and almost ubiquitous in central Europe and at higher latitudes, in the south, it is clearly a mountain species. It is uncommon and very localised in the south of the Iberian peninsula, Italy and the Balkan. In Anatolia and Iran, it is found only in the northern mountains. It is absent from the steppes of Ukraine and S. Russia but present in Crimea. East of the Ural, it is found by places in W. Siberia and in the Altai, but does not extend east of the Ienissei.
One could recognize the ssp. skorikowi from NE Turkey and Caucasus, and the spp. santonae from the Iberian peninsula. All other subspecies seem unconsistent.
- Iren KONOVALOVA, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org