The Bumblebee, nothing makes me go into a squeee-frenzy like seeing a bumblebee. For those fortunate enough to grow up in areas frequented by bumblebees, you might have noticed them backing out of a trumpet vine flower, or buzzing around some orange or lemon trees. Not only are these essential pollinators threatened, in the US they are close to being listed as endangered. But let’s, put a pin in that for a second and discuss how awesome these little furry buzz-nuggets are.
Bumblebees have no trouble flying.
A common misconception is that laws of aerodynamics should make bumbles flightless stinger-pandas, however it’s just not true. You and I see them fly and they have no trouble. It was spread by anecdotes noted by John H McMasters from a swiss aerodynamicist. No credible studies have been done to prove these flyers cannot fly…
Bumbles are almost the sole pollinator of tomato plants
What you might not know, lord knows I didn’t, bumblebees are one of the few pollinators who pollinate tomato plants. Yes, I said who and not what… Bumblebees have figured out a way to harvest pollen from tomato flowers by a method known as BUZZ POLLINATION. They hang onto the flower and vibrate to shake the pollen out onto the bee’s fur. She (all colonial bees you see pollinating are female) travels to numerous flowers and thus pollinates the flowers as she goes. This method is so efficient these shaking ladies are hired by tomato growers to be their exclusive pollinators, they get COVERED in pollen. That’s why up-close bumblebees look like they have been making pollen angels at an all-night flower-rave.
Ground-floor shag-pad dwellers
Another thing I didn’t know about flying little fuzz-balls, is they are ground nesters. A queen will strike out on her own after hibernation is over in the spring, find a shady abandoned rodents den and flip it into a honey making, pollen catching, swanky pad to build a family-kingdom. Filled with wax pots instead of an organized comb like honeybees.
In case you were wondering her first two generations are made from stored bumblebro seed from last year. She will produce only females the first generation. OH ALSO, fun fact, the female workers are not sterile like honeybees, they will also lay eggs, but they are unfertilized being eaten by the workers or will result in male drones.
Whoops, this is getting too dark… Who knew Bumblebees were so savage!?
Singers in the Key of A
With buzz pollination the Bumblebee will vibrate to a frequency identical to the musical note A. Ok, that’s just F-ing amazing, they are on key, fuzzy, and adorable.
Wrapping it up, these little guys…eerr…I mean girls, are adorable little workers that keep our world how we love it. It’s best not to take them for granted…
Ways to help attract and benefit Flying stinger-bears drunk on dank home-brew are simple:
- Plant flowers bumblebees and other pollinators like (try organic or at least non treated plants).
- Use less pesticide if you HAVE to use pesticides, and use it responsibly, don’t be that guy who just hoses stuff down with poison, that guy NO ONE LIKES.
- Leave some areas wild so native bumbles and others can find a home, designate areas for wildflowers so the city wont send you shitty letters about it.
See it was a short list, that’s enough learning for now.