I think that Bumblebees, those fat, fuzzy fliers are fascinating creatures. I love that I have come across them in almost every garden I have visited here in England this summer. I have spent some afternoons trying to capture these little creatures on film and believe me it is quite challenging as they do not sit still for very long. Here are some of my captures of bumblebees in Norfolk, England.
While on holiday here in England I have learnt quite a lot about these little fuzzy creatures.
1. There are over 250 different kinds of bumblebee in the world – 25 of these live in the UK. But only six species of bumblebee are commonly seen in UK gardens.
Unfortunately two types of bumblebee have already completely disappeared from Britain (the Cullum’s bumblebee and the Short-haired bumblebee).
2. A bumblebee flaps its wings 200 times per second. That’s a similar RPM to some motorcycle engines. Even hummingbirds cannot beat their wings more than a 50 times per second.
3. Bees have to eat a ton. Bumblebees have extremely fast metabolisms, so they have to eat almost continuously. “A bumblebee with a full stomach is only ever about 40 minutes from starvation”.
4. Bumble bees have 5 eyes. Three of their eyes are smaller and located on the top of their head, and the other two are on the front of their head. They can see UV light but can’t see the colour red!
5. Bumble bees have smelly feet. They are covered in an oily film so when they land on a flower, they leave their chemical signature behind. Other bees can smell these oily footprints left on flowers, and know not to land on the same place—the nectar’s already been pillaged. Bees also use these footprints as a sort of smelly “Welcome Home” mat; the scent helps them find their way back to the entrance of their nest.