We finally laid littleBigBee (LBB) to rest yesterday after confirming he was a boy, something we had been unable to do with 100% accuracy while he was alive. He joins BLB (BigLittleBee) under the lavender where his siblings and future generations will visit.
It's such a very short life for male bumblebees; he was probably a bit older than the 8 days we had him with us, but not much. Sadly, this is pretty much the length of time they are destined for, as their role is simply to leave the nest and mate with a new queen, and then die. Poor wee LBB never had much of a life and couldn't fulfil his role; but at least he was safe and warm and well-fed while he was here.
This is the image we were able to use to identify the sex of LBB:
On the long part of the antennae it's 11 segments for a boy, 10 for a girl. We also double-checked using the hair on his legs.