Tree bumblebee, photo: Eneli Viik

Bumblebees are insects that belong in the Hymenoptera order, the Apidae family. The best-known ones are black with bright yellow or reddish stripes, but a lot of them are also watery grey and brown. There are about 200 species of bumblebees. Bumblebees are mostly found in the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere, where they are very important pollinators of garden and arable crops, as well as wild plant species. The number of co-existing bumblebee species is the most important factor in assessing the quality of the habitats of meadow pollinators. In Europe and North America, the number of bumblebee species has decreased over the last half century, and some species have become extinct in some places. This is caused by a loss of natural habitats and the use of plant protection products. Bumblebees have a poisonous stinger and in the case of danger, they will attack the disturber furiously. Unlike honeybees, they do not die after stinging the attacker and can protect themselves again. However, only female and worker bumblebees, who make up most of the family, have this stinger. Male bumblebees are completely harmless and safe. The most bumblebees in Tallinn can be found in the Mäeküla-Astangu-Kadaka region (18 species). Pääsküla bog, Rocca al Mare (17 species), and Paevälja also have many of them. The most bumblebees in total are major nature complexes, such as Astangu, Merimetsa, and Paevälja.