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We at Riverbend Nurseries hope you and yours had a terrific fourth of July!

So, who knows a few things about bumblebees? I didn’t, until I brushed up on my knowledge of them for this blog entry! I was surprised to know that they aide so much with pollination; I thought honeybees did most of that. Below are some interesting and fun facts about the buzzing bumblebee.

  • Why do Bumblebees buzz?

When bumblebees are busy buzzing around, they are doing something we call “sonication.” That’s a fancy way of saying that the bees are actually using the buzzing sound they are making to help extract pollen from the flower they are pollinating, and are doing it at an exceptionally fast speed. They are excellent pollinators.

  • Do Bumblebees come back to the same hive every year like Honeybees?

Bumblebees do not have a permanent colony like honeybees do. In Autumn, the colony dies out and only the mated, young queen bees hibernate separately in the soil. In the Spring, each queen starts a new colony. She takes care of them by herself, getting food for them through nectar and pollen found from early spring flowers. After some of the bees are old enough and are considered worker bees, the older queen then does not leave the colony anymore, and the workers take care of the brood. After approximately 400 workers are up and going, new young queens mate and it is almost Autumn again and the cycle begins again.

  • Will a Bumble Bee sting?

While they will sting, it is rare that a bumble bee does. They are very passive bees, who are busy taking care of gathering pollen and will ignore you overall unless they feel threatened. Usually a bumble bee will let you know it is threatened by lifting its hind legs and making a loud warning buzz sound (it sounds different than that of the normal buzz it makes).

  • What are Bumble Bees the main pollinators for?

Bumble Bees are the main pollinator for tomatoes, beans, peas, pumpkins, squash, and often melons. They are the main pollinator of most of the fruit and veggies we grow in our gardens. Through sonication, they do the best job at giving us larger fruits/ veggies, more productivity from our plants, and better shaping fruit and veggies.

So, what did you know already about bumble bees? After this post, I am aware and more thankful for the buzzing of bumblebees in my yard, as you might be if you didn’t know much about them, too.

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