Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Bumble Bee

The Bumble Bee

Sometimes after I've taken a photograph of something, it arouses my curiosity of the subject. So, here are a few interesting things I've learned about the Bumble Bee just today.

A Bumble Bee is any member of the bee genus Bombus, in the family Apidae. There are over 250 known species, existing primarily in the Northern Hemisphere, although they are common in New Zealand and Tasmania.

Bumble Bees are social insects that are characterised by black and yellow body hairs, often in bands. However, some species have orange or red on their bodies, or may be entirely black. Another obvious characteristic is the soft nature of the hair, called pile, that covers their entire body, making them appear and feel fuzzy.

Like their relatives, the Honey Bees, Bumble Bees feed on nectar and gather pollen to feed their young. Bumble Bees tend to visit the same patches of flowers every day, as long as nectar and pollen continue to be available. In at least a few species, once a Bumble Bee has visited a flower, it leaves a scent mark on the flower. This scent mark deters visitation of the flower by other Bumble Bees until the scent degrades. It has been shown that this scent mark is a general chemical bouquet that Bumble Bees leave behind in different locations and they learn to use this bouquet to identify both rewarding and unrewarding flowers.

Once they have collected nectar and pollen, Bumble Bees return to the nest and deposit the harvested nectar and pollen into wax cells for storage. Unlike Honey Bees, Bumble Bees only store a few days' worth of food and so are much more vulnerable to food shortages.

Bumble Bees are important pollinators of both crops and wildflowers. They are in danger in many developed countries due to habitat destruction and collateral pesticide damage. Some Bumble Bees native to North America are also vanishing.

Bees beat their wings approximately 200 times a second. Their thorax muscles do not expand and contract on each nerve firing, but rather vibrate like a plucked rubber band. One common, yet incorrect, assumption is that the buzzing sound of bees is caused by the beating of their wings. The sound is actually the result of the bee vibrating its flight muscles.

~Information from Wikipedia

~Photo by audrey


Jan said...

This is very interesting to me too Audrey. We have noticed a lack of bumble bees this year. Steve is convinced this is why we are seeing so little pollination of the tomatoes and other garden crops. I'm going to make sure he reads this post. Thanks.

I've been listening to your music today, so peaceful and soothing until all of a sudden--BANG--In a gadda da vida? ha ha

yoborobo said...

We have had a good crop of bumbles this year. I have tried to plant a bee & butterfly garden to help them out. I love them. Thank you for posting this, very informative! xox Pam

Amanda said...

he looks so busy!! very sweet picture, i trimmed my butterfly bush today it was getting straggely, hopefully next year it will be full of blossoms for many bumbles to come and visit :) hugs

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

I love bumble bees. I have caught them in my hands many times, moving them from the mowers path. I have seldom had an aggressive one.
They do seem to *pose* on flowers; they are marvelous for flower shots!
Great info and photo!
Now I need to Buzzzzzzz out of here and get some work done! :)


Sympathy For The Devil said...

Fairy Fish :))
im here.

Sympathy For The Devil said...

lovely shot, i love bumble bees toooo!!!!

Sympathy For The Devil said...

im sorry i missed this post "I DO"!!!!
congrats Fairy Fish, and Happy anniversary :D

Gail H. Ragsdale said...

What a beautiful photo!

Deborah said...

Fabulous shot! Little photo envy here! **kisskiss** Deb