Monday, September 15, 2014

Orange-belted bumblebee

My son requested ‘a bumble bee’ for today’s post and who am I to refuse his wish? I have a soft spot for these little furry creatures anyway. Bumble bees are actually North America’s only native social bees. All other bees that live here are either introduced species from other continents or they are solitary which means they live alone.

The dense blanket of hair helps to insulate the bumble bees, which allows them to fly at cooler temperatures than most other pollinators. If you encounter a bumble bee such as today’s bug of the day, the Orange-belted bumblebee (Bombus ternarius), at the end of the winter you know that spring can’t be far away. The only bumble bees to survive the winter are young queens that now come out to found new colonies.

Some bumble bees sometimes rob nectar by chewing a hole at the bottom of a flower. That means that they are not covered in pollen after finishing their meal.  Luckily that doesn't happen too often as they are very important pollinators.

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