Thursday, July 30, 2009


I think everyone has been scared half to death by a Bumblebee. It's the middle of summer and you are out in the yard and out of nowhere, you get buzzed by a honey bee on steroids-a black widow with wings. How does something so big and so loud sneak up on anything? They sound like a crop duster is landing in the yard. I used to think you would die a horrible, ghastly death if stung by one. And we all know-they aren't supposed to be able to fly, but they do. And quite fast, I might add. A foraging bumblebee can hit speeds up to 15 miles per hour. If they hit you in the forehead at that speed, they wouldn't have to sting you, they would knock your lights out. The reason they buzz you so closely is they are trying to smell you to see if you are a flower. Teach me to wear my sweet night blooming jasmine cologne before I go out gardening. Actually, La Bombus isn't aggressive at all. They will only attack if they feel their life or hive is threatened.
Another thing, most drones born in the summer have no stingers at all. So they would have to hit you in the forehead at full throttle to hurt you. Back to the flying thing. That they can't fly is a myth born of a study done eons ago by some aerodylamo engineer applying fixed wing dynamics to a helicopter model. Sheeesh! Engineers. The fact of the matter is that Bumblebees have four wings that can be disengaged in order to flap at 200 beats per second to warm up their body to flight temperature. It's somewhat like revving your car engine in neutral to warm it up. The only time Bumblebees can't fly is when they are too cold. How ironic-not only can they fly, but their wings warm them up so they can fly when it is too cold for other bees to fly. Hence, they get out earlier to pollinate and forage for nectar. They are ambitious pollinators but only gather enough nectar to feed the hive. Unlike honey bees, they cannot survive on their honey combs, as they only store a few days worth at any given time. So they are not real big on hibernating over winter. They are just your average here today- gone tomorrow, great big furry, loud, hard working, misunderstood creatures that carry a heavy load in nature's work force.

1 comment:

dkprnce said...

you are honestly one of the craziest, most interesting and slightly tilted persons i have ever met. <--- all that in a good way of course :) . I love the bee stories, and i hope you really are having as much fun as it seems. Hopefully you will have many more tidbits to share.

Bee well
Bee safe
and Bee careful.

Love, Jeff