Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Humble Bumblebee

It was only 6 degrees, so it was a cool day.  Not really the kind of weather when honey bees would want to fly.  This bumble bee, most likely a queen, as on the ground and moving very slowly.

She looked cold.  So I picked her up and set her on a table.  She started to climb up so I lowered my finger and she hopped on.  I figured she wouldn't mind a little body heat to transfer some warmth.

It was a pleasure to have a few minutes to closely examine her, comparing her movements, size and fur to honey bees.  It's no wonder that bumble bees can fly when no other insect can.  They are wonderfully fuzzy.

I gave her a droplet of honey which she immediately started to lunch on.  I noticed how very long her tongue is, and that it even extends further with a light feather-like flexible tip.

This bee is defininately a flower specialist--able to reach deep into flowers that no other insect can.  Also, in summer, the bumble bee has the size and strength to open flowers that snap shut, such as snap dragons.

Watching her cleansing ritual was a treat.  Her legs come right up in sweeping gestures which are very effective to gather up the particles of pollen.

After her snacking and cleansing she flew off.

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