Bumblebee Allergen Datasheet

Scientific name: Bombus terrestris

Common name: buff-tailed bumblebee or large earth bumblebee

Family: Apidae

Description:

Bombus terrestris, commonly known as the bumblebee, belongs to a group of social bees, comprising about 300 species. The bumblebee's stocky body can be up to 3 cm in length and is covered with dense hair. The first task of the female following the winter season is construction of a nest, as well as recovering her strength by sucking nectar from the first spring flowers. After collecting nectar and pollen, the female lays her eggs. The first born are sterile females that help their mother collect pollen and clean the nest. At the end of July, the small females begin laying unfertilized eggs that give rise to male insects. Only towards the end of summer do larger females appear, fertilized by the males. In the autumn, with the first cold, all members of the colony die with the exception of the fertile females, which will build a new nest the following spring.

The central role of the Bombus terrestris is that of pollinator, due to the strength and hair that characterize the insect. Recently, thanks to these characteristics, in addition to its typical role in  pollination, the Bombus terrestris has also been used as a carrier for the transport of an antagonistic fungi of the Botrytis cinerea species (helping in the fight against fruit rot).

Distribution: Throughout Italy.

Period of allergen exposure: All year round, except in winter.

Allergy testing: Allergic reactions to bumblebee venom can be severe enough to cause anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal.

Allergies to Bombus terrestris venom have, to date, been found to be rare in the population.

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