STATES CHRONICLE – Researchers share interesting facts about bumblebees. We all know that they are big, noisy insects. This species is larger than honeybees, but they are known to produce less honey than them. Nevertheless, they are critical to pollinators. If these little creatures did not exist, we wouldn’t be able to grow food.
Rachel Winfree, an ecologist and assistant professor in the department of entomology at Rutgers University stated that approximately two-thirds of the crop species existing in the world depend on such insects or other species of animals to transport the pollen between male and female parts. From birds, butterflies, bats to bees, they are all pollinators which help crops survive and prosper.
Winfree argued that bees represent the most important species in many ecosystems. Based on the information shared by the National Wildlife Federation, the wings of bumblebees beat about 130 times per second. Bumblebees’ wings beating combined with the weight of their bodies determines flowers to vibrate and release pollen. This process is caused buzz pollination.
The process under discussion helps plants develop more fruit. According to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), there exist approximately 255 species of bumblebees in the world, varying in size. The largest one is the queen of Bombus dahlbomii. This one can reach 1.6 inches long. That means this particular species is approximately 3 or 4 times longer than the American bumblebee.
Scientists claimed that the shape of bumblebees’ bodies defies aerodynamics and they should be unable to fly. Nevertheless, a new study has solved this enigma. The research proved that their small wings manage to keep the bee floating by flapping them back and forth instead of moving them up and down. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences back in 2005.
Michael Dickinson, a professor of biology and insect flight expert at the University of Washington, argued that the movement of the wings is similar to the ones of a helicopter propeller. What is more, the angle to the wing fuels the development of vortices in the air. The eyes of the vortices have lower pressure compared to the air around. Thus, it keeps the eddies of air floating above their wings, helping bees stay afloat.
The largest bumblebee originates from Chile and Argentina while the rusty-patched bumblebee is found in Canada and the US.
Image source: wikipedia