If I’m being thoroughly honest, I wasn’t quite sure what was going on here. The larger bee seemed to be carrying the two smaller bees on its back. A queen perhaps?
It is a great photograph. I can only see the one smaller bee on the back. It appears to be a male early bumble bee (Bombus praetorum) trying to mate with the queen early bumble bee. It would not be unusual for another male to try and elbow in on the act, I just can’t make another one out. I bet the Bumble Bee Conservation Trust would love to see this photo. They are not actually mated but photographs of bumble bees mating are rare.
Ah! Thank you. The other smaller bee was the other side – I could not get all three in the image together. I hope they start a hive – there are not enough bees around these days.
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