Pollinator Profile #6: Bumble bee (Bombus)
Favorite Song: Singin’ in the Rain
Likes: Early mornings, late nights
Party trick: Buzz pollination
Motto: It’s hard to be humble when you’re as gifted as a bumble!
Bumble bees are probably our best-known native bee. These fuzzy friends are hard-working, versatile pollinators. Early risers, they’re able to forage when it’s too cold or wet for other bees. And as generalists, they pollinate a wide variety of plants. Growers of tomatoes and other veggies in the Solanaceae family especially appreciate their special talent for buzz pollination, or sonication. By unhooking their wings from their thoracic muscles, bumble bees can vibrate their entire bodies rapidly, thus shaking the pollen out of hard-to-reach flowers.
But it’s not all work and no play in the bumbleverse! At the SBG, we recently observed a throng of ecstatic bumbles having a party on the wild rose (Rosa virginiana). The fragrant blooms really seemed to give them an extra-special ‘buzz’!
Author: Lisa Schneider
Snetsinger Butterfly Garden Knowledge Series