THE BUMBLE BEE ORGANISM PROFILE
- DESCRIPTION OF THE BUMBLE BEES
- A hairy body
- IMPORTANCE OF THE BUMBLE BEES
- Ensuring balance of the ecosystem
- LIFECYCLE OF THE BUMBLE BEES
- Choosing sites
- Laying eggs
- Eggs hatch
- Grubs covered with silk cocoon
- Maturity of grub to a bee
- AGRESSIVENNES OF THE BUMBLE BEES
- Less aggressive
- Stinging; only after being provoked
- ACTIVITIES INSIDE THE NEST
- Guarding the nest
- Mating and Laying eggs
- ENEMIES OF THE BUMBLE BEES
- The skunks
- Human activities
Bumble Bee Organism profile
Description of Bumble Bees
The bumblebee is a large social insect, which has a characteristic fuzzy buzz and bumbling flight. Its body is covered with hair. Generally, the bumble is recognized by its yellow and black color. Many Bumble bees range from ¾” to 1½” in size.
Importance of Bumble Bees
The bumble bee is known to be the best pollinator among the all pollinating insects. Pollination is a remarkably important activity, without which the food production process and balance of the ecosystem would be highly impaired. The bumble bee, native to North America, is more efficient in pollination than the imported honey bees. This can be attributed to the evolution of the bumble bee along with the native plants such as; cranberries, blueberries, squash and melons, in North America. Additionally, the bumblebees are able to provide a buzz pollination which involves shaking the flower so that the pollen grains fall from the anthers to the stigma. Without the buzz pollination, the pollen would remain trapped on the anther cone- which leads to good pollination and subsequent production of large attractive fruits.
Life Cycle of the Bumble Bee
The Lifecycle of the bumble bees starts in every autumn. During this period, a queen mates and seeks a safe place to hibernate. During the first warm days in spring, queen bees usually relocate to a suitable place in order to build a nest. The main potential sites for the nest are at the leaf litter in the bottom of a hedge, a cool dark place under the wooden floor of a garden shed, under a huge stone, or in an old mouse hole. There are over 200 types of the bumble bees and they find different environments to create their nest. The queen is responsible for creating the colony. She establishes a new nest with a blob of pollen and wax, where she lays eggs. The queen collects pollen and wax, which she continually adds to the nest. After the eggs hatch into grubs, the queen creates a yellow cocoon using silk that covers the grubs. The grubs then emerge as full grown workers, which take over the task of finding nectar. Later, the queen lay eggs, which hatch into drones. These males live an independent life out of the nest and their purpose is only mating. Soon after the nest reaches the right size of the particular species, the queen lays eggs destined to hatch into other queens. During the first drop in temperature, all the worker bees and the queen in the nest die. The young queens hibernate and survive to start the cycle again after winter.
Aggressiveness of the Bumble bees
Bumblebees are not aggressive like the honey bees. Therefore, they rarely attack humans unless they get provoked. In case they land on a person, they move gently away soon after realizing that there is no flower smell or nectar. However, the person has to stay still. Waving arms wildly makes the bee to become aggressive and at this moment they will sting. Some of the bumble bees do not have a sting such as the drones. Unlike honey bees, the bumble bees do not lose their sting after they use it. The only members of the bumble bee colony that have a sting are the mature workers and the queens.
Activities inside the Nest
The nest made by the bumble bee is roundly shaped and covered with wax. The wax covers the eggs, grubs, cocoons, queen and is a store for the nectar and pollen collected by the worker bees. The wax is used for protection of the fragile components of the community. The nest has housekeeper workers, who crawl around the nest making repairs to the wax and removing any unnecessary materials from the nest. These workers are usually young and secrete wax. In some instances, they are deformed and thus incapable of flying. On the outer area of the nest, there are nest workers designated the task of guarding the opening. They usually sting any intruder, as a way of protecting the nest. The rest of the worker bees go out of the nest to forage. They usually get back to the nest with pollen and nectar, attached to the pollen baskets at the back of their legs.
Enemies of Bumble bees
Bumble bees only have one natural enemy i.e. skunks. These are the only animals that find the bumble bee edible. Skunks usually raid bumblebee nests with the aim of eating the bees, their eggs and the grub in the colony. However, bumblebees usually look for sites to build their colony in places where skunk population is limited. The major enemy of the bumble bee’s existence is human activities. Many of the aerosols and pesticides used for eliminating pests also affect the bumble bees significantly.
Day, E. (2011, may 13). Bumble Bee- Hymenoptera. Retrieved from Virginia Cooperative Extension: http://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/3104/3104-1572/3104-1572.html
Evans, E., Burns, I., & Spivak, M. (2007, May 4). Befriending Bumblebees. Retrieved from University of Minnesota: http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/DG8484.html
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