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Natural History

Bumblebees are easily distinguished from other bees by their relatively large size and black and yellow coloration. The bees feed by collecting protein rich pollen and sweet nectar from flowers and in the process act as pollinators for the plants. In fact bees are the most important pollinators on the planet, without whom many species of plant could not survive. Since many animals (including humans) rely on these plants for food, it is difficult to overstate the role these insects play in the ecosystem. 

The area around Tucson Arizona is thought to host more species of bees than anywhere else in the world, with the possible exception of some of the desert areas near Israel.

Bumblebees are social bees, and live in burrows (a crevice or abandoned mouse hole). Colonies are established each year in the spring by a queen bee who lays all the eggs in the colony. The first bees to emerge are workers who help care for and feed the brood. Males and queens hatch near the end of the cycle and after mating, new queens will find a place to hibernate underground until the following spring when the cycle begins again.

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