Bumble Bees

Bee, Bumblebee, Flower, Macro, Garden

There are over 250 different species of bee and most of these exist in the Northern Hemisphere. They are social creatures with black and yellow hairs that are frequently arranged in stripes on the bee’s body. They may also have orange or red coloring and some bees are almost completely black. Bumble bees feel and look fuzzy. The thick fuzzy hairs help to keep bumble bees warm throughout the winter. They gather pollen that’s used to feed their young. In queens which have been fertilized, the ovaries become active when she lays her eggs. The queen can store the male’s sperm from breeding in a special container known as the spermatheca that is used when she’s laying her eggs. Some eggs are fertilized with the sperm and these bumble bees will expand into females or queens while other eggs proceed unfertilized and become men.
Hormones stimulate the maturation of the ovaries and lack of hormones will suppress ovary development. In worker bees, a deficiency of hormones makes it impossible for them to replicate. Rather than being capable of reproducing, worker bees have salivary glands that secrete saliva and can be mixed with the nectar and pollen that they gather from flowers. The saliva is mixed with the materials used to construct the nest to make them softer. It extends from a sheath and is used to lap up liquids like nectar. When the bumble bee flies or rests, the tongue is kept folded up under its head. Wax is secreted from a place under the abdomen. Pollen is accumulated by the bumble bee in part through electrostatic charge which builds up on the bee because it’s flying through the air. Though bees don’t have ears, they do have the ability to sense vibrations.
The bumble bee is generally found more easily at higher latitudes and higher altitudes. There are a few tropical species of bumble bees however. The bee possesses the ability to regulate its own body temperatures using several mechanisms such a”shivering” and solar radiation. They’re also able to stay cool by radiating warmth from the bodies throughout their abdomen.
Bumble bees exist in colonies which are generally smaller than that of honey bees. Mature nests of bees occasionally hold just about 50 individuals. Nests may be found under ground in tunnels made by other animals. They often build a waxy protective canopy that can help to insulate the colony through the winter months. A queen bumble bee from a colony will often survive the winter and then construct a new colony in the warmer spring months are she emerges from hibernation. She collects pollen and nectar from flowers and then finds a suitable place for the nest to begin the cycle all over again.

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