If Truth Bee Told... Bumblebee Fun Facts & Endangerment
Some interesting fun facts about bumblebees, from their wings to their feet, including the nest makeup!
Did you know that almost 90% of wild plants depend on pollination, as well as around 3/4 of leading global crops?
Pollinating-dependent crops are more valuable than crops independent of pollination. Any idea what this means? Bees contribute to high-quality agriculture, not just for pollinating flowers and honey-making!
Honey Bees are the only insect that makes food humans can consume. Plus, honey has an antioxidant that improves brain functions! That's why it's often called liquid gold. Its main benefits are improved sleep and elevated mood. The antioxidants bees collect also protect your brain cells from inflammation and improve blood flow to the hippocampus - the part of your brain responsible for your memory!
South America is home to the world's largest bumblebee: the Bombus Dahlbomii.
The queens of this species are described as flying mice... I don't know about you, but I'm not quite sure how fun that is...
Bumblebees flap their wings 200 times a second (11,400 times a minute!), which is similar to the RPM (revolutions per minute) of some motorcycle engines... wild. Can you imagine saying to a motorcyclist, "you're as fast as a bee, mate!"
With that much movement, it's easy to imagine they need to eat a lot (relatively, anyway). They have super fast metabolisms to match their super fast movement; Dave Goulson, a scientist specialising in insect ecology and conservation notes that "A bumblebee with a full stomach is only ever about 40 minutes from starvation."
Can you guess how many miles a beehive will travel to make a single pound (Ib) of honey?
It's 55,000! In a year, the hive can make 45kg worth of honey!
It's a small clan
Bumblebee nests don't generally house more than 400 worker bees compared to the tens of thousands in honeybee or wasp nests...
Only the queen bee survives winter hibernation and she's left to create the colony herself
She also controls the genetics of her offspring - did you know the girls make up the entire bee workforce?
Producing a son requires laying an unfertilised egg, whilst producing daughters simply requires fertilizing the eggs with the sperm she's been storing since the summer that's just passed!
Stingers, Smells & Snazzy Moves!
Honeybees, not bumblebees, die after they've stung you.
So, yeah, you can be stung twice by a female bumblebee (the males don't have a stinger). Though, lucky for us, they're not very aggressive so you shouldn't have much to worry about unless you go stampeding all over their nest...
Did you know that all insects are covered in an oily, waterproof, film? When bees land on a flower, their chemical signature, if you will, is left in their footprints. Bees can tell when another bee has checked a flower out and it's useful for when they're gathering honey! They know that the nectar has already been pillaged if they can smell another bee on the flower. "I know where you've been!" Not to mention, it also helps them find their way back to their nests, so it also works as a 'Welcome Home' mat!
Bees do a little waggle dance around their nestmates sometimes. It's not a jazzy dance move though; they use it as a communication method to inform others of the best food sources around! Imagine - it took the researchers at Sussex University 2 years to decode it!
Why Are Bees Endangered?
Climate change greatly damages bumblebees because they're adapted to colder weathers, so global warming reduces their functionality. The suitable habitat available for them is being tightly squeezed, making them vulnerable to change. As such, bumblebee populations have been on the decline for over a century. Further, agricultural practice harms the survival of wild bumblebees due to pesticides. In the 2 decades between 1940 and 1960, 4 species disappeared from Illinois, and today they now have half the bumblebee populations they used to.
In Europe, almost 1/4 of bumblebee populations are IUCN-classified endangered. 8 are vulnerable, 7 are endangered, and 1 is critically endangered.
But It's Not All Doom & Gloom!
Bare Kind's bamboo socks save endangered animals. We know that you know that. But do you know where the donated money on our bee socks goes? 10% of profits go toward various projects created and managed by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, which endeavour to grow the bumblebee population, which has plummeted in the last 8 decades.
Last year, your purchases of bee socks funded the planting of wildflower seeds on 5 rugby fields worth of land!
That's letting our bees feast on nectar and helps our ecosystem run naturally!