Monday, March 12, 2012

Day #517 How Bumblebees Hatch Their Eggs

I’m so used to reading about honey bees, I sometimes forget about the Bumblebees. They’re a native pollinator. They were here to greet every set of people that have wandered to this land, and if we don’t kill them all off with pesticides and herbicides, they’ll still be around to greet our twenty-times-great-grandchildren.
You know, I’m sure, that the honey-bee queen lays her eggs (up to 2,500 a day) in the honeycomb, one egg in the bottom of each cell. The worker bees then care for the larvae.
Bumblebees are different. Each female bumblebee lays her eggs in a little clump and SITS on them, to warm them with the heat in the bottom of her abdomen. Remember, I told you a few days ago that the bee heart pushed the blood up into the thorax where it’s warmed by muscle movement. When the warm blood leaves the thorax, it passes along the bottom of the abdomen. That’s why the mommy bumblebee can warm her eggs. The heat passes from her heated blood through the layers of her body and onto/into the eggs.
Isn’t that magnificent?
Tomorrow: Ravens.

In the meantime, 
Happy Birthday Darlene ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
Is that enough exclamation points for you?
BEEattitude for Day #517:
       Blessed are those who avoid stepping on us bees, for they shall have a brighter Springtime.
The teeny details:
my books: Please buy them from an independent bookstore or directly from my website.


AggiePete said...

I never realized there was a difference in the 'egg laying/hatching' of the fuzzies. That is wonderful. And I know we shouldn't 'assume' but aren't 'bumble-fuzzies' larger than honey-fuzzies?

Fran Stewart said...

Yes. Bumble-fuzzies are much larger than the honey-fuzzies.

I have to admit, I was astonished to find that bumblebees lay their eggs in a clump and sit on them to keep them warm. But, when you think about it, it's perfectly logical -- bumble-fuzzies don't live in colonies the way honey-bees do, simply because they don't have to create all that honey. And without the colony to care for the eggs, the lone bumblebee would have to be responsible for her own offspring.

Duh! Wish I'd thought of that a year or so ago...

AggiePete said...

I don't suppose you have a photo of a mommy-bumble-fuzzy 'nesting' on her baby eggs? I have never seen anything like that.

Fran Stewart said...

I haven't found a photo yet, but I'm going to try to reach Dr. Heinrich and ask if he can send me a link to the photo he used in his presentation at GA Tech.