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What I Love About Bumble Bees

Updated on July 4, 2011

Bumble Bees Are Great

Instead of doing a science lens I wanted to make this lens my fun impression of the bee. I was out in nature today and I love watching bees go in and out of flowers. I love watching their squidgy cute hairy behinds and fluffy bodies. I love the stripeyness of their silhouette and to be honest, I just love bees. So for the random pleasure of my love of the beautiful bee, I wrote this lens.


It's All About The Bees Knees

While investigating about bees, I discovered some things I just didn't know about them. For some reason I thought it was mainly the male worker bees that collected the nectar for the hive but I soon discovered that I will never see the male bees. All the work is done by the females. I love seeing the bees with the pollen carefully packed around their cute little legs and it is good to know that they are females. They have hair on their legs that allows the pollen to pack there and to not come off when they visit other flowers. All of the other pollen that gathers on their torso's gets carried to other flowers for pollination.

The reason the pollen sticks to bees in general is that the pollen is sticky and the bees furry cuteness creates an electrostatic charge which attracts the pollen to their bodies.

What really makes me beam from ear to ear is when I see a heavy laden bee thickly covered in pollen; when you can hardly see her legs for the pollen she is carrying. I love that she is doing a job for the hive and the Queen and she is a proper little worker bee. I love watching when they get so heavy they fall about in a drunken manner getting high off the sweet scented pollen they carry. Bees are just the real treasures of this planet. I love bees.

Also the bees eat the pollen and nectar and it's a wonderful energy source for their busy lives. As bees only live around 6 weeks and they are constantly protecting the hive, caring for the new larvae and collecting pollen and nectar, no wonder they need such a carbohydrate and protein rich source of food.

So the bees knees are indeed a rich support for this planet (grin).

Bees Like Love - Fresh From The Hive


Did you know that bees like love? If you share love with a bee hive they will stay around for longer. I saw this on the movie 'The Secret Life Of Bees' (great movie by the way).

"I hadn't been out to the hives before, so to start off she gave me a lesson in what she called 'bee yard etiquette'. She reminded me that the world was really one bee yard, and the same rules work fine in both places. Don't be afraid, as no life-loving bee wants to sting you. Still, don't be an idiot; wear long sleeves and pants. Don't swat. Don't even think about swatting. If you feel angry, whistle. Anger agitates while whistling melts a bee's temper. Act like you know what you're doing, even if you don't. Above all, send the bees love. Every little thing wants to be loved."

Sue Monk Kidd (The Secret Life Of Bees).

Inside The Hive - Waggle Dance

And How Do Bees Help Flowers & This Planet?

Photo courtesy
Photo courtesy

The plants simply need the bees to carry the pollen between flowers so they can reproduce. Bees aid pollination and without flowers and plants this planet would be in a very sorry state.

Social Companionship & The Bee


"Honeybees depend not only on physical contact with the colony, but also require its social companionship and support. Isolate a honeybee from her sisters and she will soon die."

- Sue Monk Kidd (The Secret Life of Bees)


Bees Go Crazy On Bananas & Have Mood Swings With Weather Changes

Okay, so this is pretty surreal and I am more than pleased to discover my intuition is working. Today while in nature I felt this irritation in me and got up to walk home (I had been lying on some grass by the river in the sun). I decided to go to a bush where a lot of bees gather pollen as bees soothe me when I watch them. To my amazement I felt my irritation increase. I watched them and actually felt that they were irritated. So I came home after getting caught in a downpour of rain during a thunderstorm and discovered online that bees can become irritated or more aggressive during stormy weather or when it is a cloudy day. Apparently for bee keeping it is best to tend to the hives on a sunny day if possible.

I later discovered bees actually go crazy on bananas. So don't eat bananas if you are handling bees and for me I am thinking don't eat bananas before going into nature and certainly don't take bananas out for my lunch. ALL these interesting titbits I am learning here.

The Secret Life Of Bees By Sue Monk Kidd

A movie with a whole lot of heart.

The Secret Life of Bees
The Secret Life of Bees
The Secret Life Of Bees has an amazing all star cast of women, including Queen Latifah and Dakota Fanning. This movie, based on the bestselling book of the same name by Sue Monk Kidd, tells the heart-warming story of a young girl who finds love, appreciation and acceptance through a trio of wonderful sisters. Queen Latifah plays the loving role of a bee keeper. The sisters produce the area's famous Black Madonna's honey. Dakota, who plays the young girl in search of her roots and understanding of why her mother left her, takes a journey of healing and understanding. She becomes involved in the practices of bee keeping and learns a little about life in the process. It is set in South Carolina when the civil rights of black women, men and children was not a given and the movie portrays these injustices with powerful performances which ultimately bring hope.

The Secret Life Of Bees Movie Trailer

Here Come The Girls! - So it's the girls that do all the work? Is that right?

Photo courtesy
Photo courtesy

So in my quest to understand and know bees, I discovered to my surprise that it is not the males that do the work of collecting or tending to the young larvae or protecting the hive, it is the girls! Go the girls!

The males which are called drones live around 90 days, they cannot sting, they hang around the hive waiting to mate with a young virgin queen and if they haven't left the hive before winter kicks in, they get kicked out of the hive. They do nothing but hang around waiting to procreate. Hmmmm...

The ladies on the otherhand have a number of duties from birth. Apart from the overall Queen of the Hive the other females take the roles of :

Cleaner: in the first couple of days they are alive, where they clean up the cells they were born in and the other cells.

Nurse : after this they feed the larvae.

Housekeeper: They then build the wax for the hive, build the comb and move food around the hive. They also take care of the Queen.

The Older Girls act as duty guards, protecting the hive.

And in the last 15 or so days of these older ladies' lives, they leave the hive to forage for food, gather pollen, nectar and water for the hive.

These amazing worker bees work themselves to death for the sake of the community.

Now that's job commitment.

Thank you lovely lady bees.

BeeKeeping Support & Products

For those of you that would like to connect with these amazing creatures and perhaps have your own fresh honey supply the links below may be of assistance.

So What's The Difference Between Bumble Bees & Honey Bees? - A Question From A Fellow Squid Gave Me Food For Thought

Honey Bee By WWARBY flickr
Honey Bee By WWARBY flickr

So in writing this lens I got so excited about my love for the bumble bee and more so bees in general that I left out certain things I had not even considered and so it was great when a fellow squid asked me the above question. And being of an enquiring mind, I wanted to know more. So lets take a look at the bumble bee and the honey bee and discover the differences.

So What's The Difference Between The Bumble Bee & The Honey Bee

Well firstly, the bumble bee tends to be a brighter, bigger and fluffier (hairier) bee.

Even though bumble bees don't create honey in the same way as honey bees (they create less) the flowers really need the bumble bee. Like other bees they pollinate flowers and they live close to the ground - not in hives like honey bees. The colony of a bumble bee tends to be smaller than that of a honey bee also. And bumble bees move homes each spring (or rather the queen does as she is the only member to survive the winter).

Bumble bees have a fuzzy furry abdomen and the honey bee has a shiny abdomen (honey bee photo above). Bumble bees tend to be cultivated for agricultural purpose as they are good pollinators whereas the name suggests, the Honey Bees are kept to create honey.

Bumble bees can sting more than once but tend to steer clear of humans unless threatened. Bumble bees are gentle and slow. If they do sting they can remove their stingers and continue on. Honey Bees unfortunately are not able to remove their sting and so die after stinging (oh dear!).

Due to the extra fluffyness of the Bumble bee, Bumble bees can fly during cooler weather and the extra fluff keeps them warmer as bees do need warmth to heat up their wings to make it easier to fly.

I once found a bumble bee in a woodland area on a flower. She did not seem very coherent, she looked drunk, falling all over, unable to fly properly. She kept falling off the flower. I was a bit concerned about her so I blew on her a few times. After a while she got up and flew on. I since discovered that they will fly on, those that may be a bit slow have just got caught out perhaps in cold weather and need some warmth to get their wings going. So either my breath got her moving or the sun coming out, who knows?!

The Miracle Of The Bumble Bee - How On Earth Do They Fly? What about the 'Humble'?

Bumble Bee Flight
Bumble Bee Flight

On my exploration of the beautiful bumble bee I discovered the bumble bee used to be called the 'Humble Bee'. Apparently it came from scientists and possibly Darwin but later became the bumble bee when storytellers like Beatrix Potter named a character in her book 'Tale Of Mrs Tittlemouse' a troublemaker called 'Babbitty Bumble'.

Some authors say it was given the derogatory name Bumble because of its miraculous flight and oversized body, and how it looks as it bumbles from flower to flower because of this. However, I just love the word bumble, no matter why it was called this. Bumble is just cute, like bumbling along in life and there is nothing wrong with bumbling.

What many people are amazed at with the magical Bumble Bee is the very fact that they can fly. It seems scientifically impossible for them to fly and yet fly they do. The mistake was made was by aeronautical engineers when they calculated that the lift from the bumble bees wings was less than the bee's weight . But what really happens is the bees wings create down strokes creating spinning vortices above the wing. This gives the bee more lift than they first thought.

So it's not so much a miracle but brilliant biological engineering!

My Joyous Response To This Lens Being Made' Lens Of The Day'!

Sometimes joy just has to be shared!


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