Where do Bumblebees Live?

Where do Bumblebees Live?

Bumblebee Habits Bumblebees are definitely considered creatures of habit and are most commonly found in the Northern Hemisphere in higher altitude regions. However, there are a few tropical species of bumblebees known to exist in lower latitude parts of South America, Australia, New Zealand, and Tasmania. There are also some species that live in extremely cold climates, where few other types of bees are found, the Bombus polaris and Bombus alpinus. Bombus Polaris, a yellow and black bumblebee, is native to Ellesmere Island, the northernmost known location of all eusocial insects. This bumblebee can exists in near freezing temperatures by regulating body temperature through solar radiation, the process of moving internal muscles with little energy spent. The heterothermy is a radiative cooling system in the abdomen that helps control temperature similar to shivering. This internal cooling and heating system is known to exist in other bee species, but has best been studied in the...
How do Bumblebees Reproduce?

How do Bumblebees Reproduce?

Bumblebee Biology The bumblebee is an arthropod that allows blood to pass through its body in an open circulatory system. A reservoir of blood surrounds the bee’s organs, including its heart (or dorsal aorta) and wing muscles. The bumblebee heart pulses through a long tube that circulates around its body. Fertilized queens activate their ovaries when they lay their eggs. The egg moves via passage along the oviduct to the vagina, to the spermatheca container. The queen uses this part of her anatomy to store sperm after mating. Prior to laying her egg, the female bumblebee will either use the sperm from her well or pass on fertilization. If she decides to fertilize the egg, it will grow into females and queen bees, if she passes, the egg develops into a male bumblebee. Hormones are the driving factor in development and growth in the bumblebee. The queen will remain dominant as long as her body’s hormones, which stimulate the development of her ovaries and is dormant in female worker bees, remains functional. Bumblebees have a salivary gland that mixes pollen and nectar it collects with saliva it secretes. This gland’s saliva is also handy for softening up the nest. As a hibernating insect, the bumblebee will eat as much as it can and store this energy it its fat cells to survive through the winter months. The bumblebee laps up pollen and nectar using its tongue, referred to as the proboscis, which is hair, long, and extends from a sheathed maxilla. The nectar that is collected in a lapping fashion is placed in the proboscis via capillary action. The...
Researchers Use Mini Radio Transponders to Track Bumblebees

Researchers Use Mini Radio Transponders to Track Bumblebees

Bumblebee Research Goes Hi-tech Researchers are demonstrating how new technology can create radio transponders small and light enough to be equipped to a bumblebee so that its movements can be tracked. The transponder itself is said to be less than one-tenth of the bee’s body weight and is harmless to put on and take off. Bumblebees can hold up to 90-percent of their body weight in pollen, so the bee’s flight won’t bee affected, according to researchers. An interesting aspect of this experiment is that the bees will all take off in different directions in effort to collect as much pollen as they can, then they manage to find their way back to their handlers.   Video: Steve Leonard from the BBC’s Animal Camera with Radio Transponder...
25 British Species of Bumblebees Discussed in this Short Film, Saving the Bumblebee

25 British Species of Bumblebees Discussed in this Short Film, Saving the Bumblebee

Bumblebees are Our Allies This documentary called Saving the Bumblebee discusses the importance that bumblebees have in society, especially in relation to the pollination of plant life that gives way to fruits and vegetables. According to the video bumblebees feed on the sugary nutrients derived from pollen and unlike their honey bee cousin, the bumblebee does not store honey. Male bumblebees are noticeable smaller in comparison to queen bumblebees; visually, they appear to be about half the size on average. After mating, queen bees will hibernate and won’t reemerge until spring. Also shown are cuckoo bumblebees, which kill other bumblebees.   Video: Saving the Bumblebee, a Look at the Role of...
Queen Bumblebee After Hibernation from Sir David Attenborough’s Life in the Undergrowth on BBC

Queen Bumblebee After Hibernation from Sir David Attenborough’s Life in the Undergrowth on BBC

Queen Bumblebee Awakens after Hibernation Queen bumblebee emerges from her winter sleep to awaken to a cold spring morning, and as she too is cold, just barely warmer than the vegetation around her (as seen with a thermal camera), it is difficult for her to take to flight. She manages to warm her body by putting her wings out of gear and exercising the muscles prior to taking flight. This also serves to increase her body temperature by 68° F (20° C), helping her to reach the optimal body temperature of around 86° F (30° C). Until the queen bee manages to reach her ideal body temperature, creating enough thermal heat for taking flight is extremely difficult.   Video: Queen Bumblebee Warms Up After a Cold...