Bumble Bees Pollinate Everything!
We all know that honey bees are a very popular pollinator, but the mighty bumble bee is one of the best pollinators around. We wouldn't have all of the wonderful flowers and food we have without pollinators. There are many different insects that polinate for us, but usually honey bees are the go to for pollination, which causes us to overlook the bumble bee.
The bumble bee is a free living creature that's a lot larger than most bees and wasps. They prefer the higher altitudes in the U.S. but are found pretty much everywhere there are nectar bearing and pollen bearing flowers. They also look for early spring flowers to drink nectar from as nectar is their primary food source and they gather pollen to feed the hive.
Bumble Bees Work When It's Cold Outside!
Have you ever walked outside in the early morning hours of early spring to see bumble bees buzzing around and working while the honey bees are all hanging out in their hives? You've surely noticed that they're very plump and densely furry.
They're able to tolerate the cold and work when it's much colder than other bees can tolerate. This is because they use an internal mechanism called, "solar radiation" that allows them to regulate their body temperature. Bumble bees are also able to cool themselves via heterothermy, or the mechanism of radiative cooling called shivering. They're also able to live in high altitudes by controlling their wing stroke aplitude.
Bumble Bees Need A Safe Place To Live
Bumble bees are social creatures that live in a hive colony with a single queen. Their hives are a lot smaller than honey bee hives. They need to have a sheltered snug hive that is sheltered from the heat so they don't get too warm. Tree roots, old rodent dens, and just about anywhere underground are the favored places for their hives.When it's cool and even cold outside, they can 'shiver' in the morning before venturing out into temperatures as low as 32°F.
The typical bumble bee hive contains as few as 50 bees and as many as 200. Most of the bumble bees only live for the year. The queen and select worker bees will fatten up on August and September before going into hibernation. The queen stays in hibernation until the worker bees have started eating and building the new hive for the year.