The Bumble Buzz
M. Fegler (dedicated to Michelle Adams...I got your Pop Culture Right Here)
PX3 would love to hear what you think OR if you have any questions. PX3 hopes to see all of you at Calvert Brewing Company Trivia Night on May 15, 2019 from 7 pm - 9 pm. Get to know PX3 members, have a great craft brew, win prizes with your keen trivia skills. PX3 Trivia will consist of three categories: Maryland Native Bees, the Honey Bee, & Your Garden Potential. Join us and test your knowledge, learn fun facts and have some really good beer. For the first 15 days of May 2019 PX3 will post blogs that we will then draw trivia questions from. We welcome you to visit daily and take a look! Thanks to Calvert Brewing Company for partnering with us for this fun event.
We are almost to Trivia night and I want to indulge my own passion for the bumble bee. I have managed to mention a couple time….ok, maybe 50 times that they are my personal favorite. It does not mean all 20 trivia questions will revolve around bumbles; thankfully my board keeps my leash on ;)
Bumble bees are my favorite for many reasons BUT I think of myself as a second cousin to Chewbacca (may he rest in peace) and the bumble is definitely the Chewy of the bee world; this and I like to think they speak in movie and song quotes as my favorite Transformer does. Bumble bees are often the largest in the bee community, especially the queen and are incredibly hairy! Bumble bees are one of the hardest working genus’ of the bee community as well. Part of the Apidae family of bees, the bumble has a hive with the same hierarchy as the honey bee. Equipped with workers, and eventually drones, the bumble bee hive is much smaller than the honey bee hive and ends each year in the fall, with only the future queens surviving winter and emerging to start their hive all alone in spring. This means, what I may have mentioned before, that in spring you should always bow to bumbles because you are in the presence of royalty. Bumble queens raise the first stage of workers before retiring to a life of egg laying and managing the hive. This requires tremendous work from finding a hive location to building honey pots, and going out for all the groceries until the first set of daughters are fully grown.
This is going to end up sounding like a job reference BUT I will return to the work ethic of these big beauties. Everyone has heard the quote….ok, most have heard the motivational quote used by Mary Kay, ‘how does a bumble bee fly; because no one told them they couldn’t’ Now this quote originated when it was believed the bumble was an anomaly and was too large to be able to physically fly. That myth has since been unraveled but it is obvious that bumbles are truly ‘all about that bass’, ‘don’t wear a size two’, ‘shake it shake it like they are supposed to do’, and don’t want any trouble (I know it’s trebble, just work with me). Bumbles work hard and are the co-worker we all have that doesn’t bother anyone and just wants to get their work done.
Outside of being large, hairy beings bumbles have habits that also add to their effectiveness. Also mentioned before is the bumble prefers one plant type at a time and will service one species at a time. When you own acres of blueberries this works out well in your partnership OR more often bumbles are housed in greenhouses to service solanates (tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplants…..nightshade; you know, the plant used in the first Hunger Games). This greenhouse employment is readily recruited for because of the fabulous ability for the bumble to ‘shake it shake it’ as Meghan Trainor explains. Scientifically referred to as buzz sonication the bumble is able to twerk like Queen Bee herself. Solanates hold tightly to pollen and without sonicating force the pollen will not detach itself; this is to keep pollen thieves from getting involved. I invite you to Youtube it and watch the videos, of buzz sonication not Beyonce silly; but I love her too.
Homestead Gardens is hosting PX3 this Sunday, May 19th for our first of three workshops, Befriending Bumbles. This workshop will be available in July at Adkins Arboretum and possibly again at Homestead Gardens. Join us and we can help you get to that next level of the Pollinator Challenge! Cheers!