India home to 48 species of bumblebees
Recently released book Indian Bumblebees has revealed that India is home to 48 of the 250 known species of bumblebees.
The book is written by entomologist M.S. Saini and co-authors Rifat H. Raina and Harpeet Singh Ghator.
These 48 known species of bumblebees native to India and are the only pollinators of vegetation in high-altitude regions.
Key facts about Indian Bumblebees
- Bumblebees are social insects and live in colonies and the size of it depends on the species. They are similar to the honeybees.
- Mostly characterised by yellow, black and reddish body hair and are often striped.
- Generally found on altitudes of 2,000-15,000 feet along the entire Himalayas from Jammu & Kashmir to Nagaland.
- Life cycle: The founder of the Bumblebees colony is the queen. She hibernates throughout winter and in spring finds a site for new nest. She then lays her eggs in autumn which will result in the first batch of workers.
- Importance: Bumblebees play an important role in the ecosystem and are crucial for pollination at higher altitudes. Thus without them seed setting and fruiting will not take place in many plants.
- They pollinate fruit trees, vegetables, cash crops and even ornamental and medicinal plants high in the Himalayas.