Do Bumblebees play?
A recent study published in Life magazine in November 2022 shows Bumblebees playing with wooden balls.
The study on Buff-Tailed Bumblebees found that they seem to play with wooden balls rather than go around them to get to a food snack.
The Buff-Tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris audax) is an insect in the Apidae family of bees. It is also known as the Large Earth Bumblebee. It feeds on pollen from flowers.
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What is a pollen basket?
A bee has a pollen basket. But not all bees have a pollen basket.
The worker bees are the only bees that gather pollen and nectar from plants, and they have a pollen basket. Worker bees are female bees, except the queen bee.
Pollen-collecting is called foraging. Pollen is collected on the worker bee’s back legs in a pollen basket.
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The Red-Tailed Black Bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius) is an insect in the Apidae family of bees.
The Red-Tailed Black Bumblebee has a black body with orange at the end of its abdomen. The male has a yellow ruff around its neckline and often yellow markings on its face. Its body has fluffy hairs. It has a rounded head with short antennae.
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The Shrill Carder Bee (Bombus sylvarum) is an insect in the Apidae family of bumblebees. It is also known as the Knapweed Carder Bee.
The Shrill Carder Bee is mostly pale-yellow-grey with a black band on it thorax and two black bands on its abdomen. It has an orange tip to its abdomen. Its body has fluffy hairs. It has a rounded head with short antennae.
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The Dark-Edged Bee Fly (Bombylius major) is an insect in the Bombyliidae family of flies. It is also known as the Large Bee Fly or the Large Humblefly.
The Dark-Edged Bee Fly is the similar size and shape of a Bumblebee (Bombus sp.), but its body is more triangular. It is dark-coloured with a brown hairy thorax and abdomen. It has translucent wings with a dark-brown edge. When it rests, its wings are spread out. Bumblebees have two pairs of wings, but the Dark-Edged Bee Fly has only one pair of wngs.
Its long, grey proboscis (nose) looks like a stinger or sword on the top of its head. Its proboscis is always straight (like a unicorn horn) because it cannot curl or retract it. Butterflies, for example, can roll up their proboscis. The Dark-Edged Bee Fly has long legs. It has short antennae. Unlike a bee, it does not have a stinger.
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Can bumblebees fly sideways? New research shows that bumblebees can fly sideways to fit through tight gaps.
In November 2020, the New Scientist magazine included an article about bumblebees. Researcher Sridhar Ravi and his science colleagues from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, studied the flight of the Buff-Tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris).
The scientists were testing whether bumblebees are aware of their size, because they are larger than honeybees. The scientists connected four bee hives to tunnels. The Buff-Tailed Bumblebees had to go through the tunnel to reach some food. Then the science researchers put a wall in the middle of the tunnel which partially blocked the tunnel, leaving a small gap (space). The scientists observed the bees to see what they would do when they reached the wall. Would they go through the gap or not?
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The Violet Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa violacea) is an insect in the bee family. It is not a Bumblebee, because a Bumblebee has a hairy body.
The Violet Carpenter Bee has six legs, two pairs of wings, and three body parts: (1) head, (2) thorax, and (3) abdomen. It has a shiny black body with short dark-grey hairs, called bristles. Its wings are dark (not translucent like other bees) with a violet-blue sheen. Its antennae are medium-sized, and the male has slightly bent antennae.
The male has a yellow patch on the top of its thorax, whereas the female does not (she has a black thorax). The male does not have a stinger. The female has a stinger on her abdomen, but she is not aggressive.
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The Buff-Tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) is an insect in the Apidae family of bees. It is also known as the Large Earth Bumblebee. It is a pollinator.
The Buff-Tailed Bumblebee has a white-tailed abdomen and yellow bands. Its body has fluffy hairs. It has a rounded head with short antennae.
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The White-Tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lucorum) is an insect in the Apidae family. It is a pollinator, because it collects pollen.
The White-Tailed Bumblebee has fluffy hairs with two bright yellow bands and a pure white tail. One yellow band is at the collar on the front of the thorax and the other yellow band is in the middle of the abdomen. It has a rounded head with short antennae.
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The Mammoth Wasp (Megascolia maculate) is a large insect.
The Mammoth Wasp looks like a large Bumblebee. The female has a yellow-orange head, whereas the male has a black head. Its body has fine hairs and is glossy black with two yellow bands across its abdomen.
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The Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum) is a common insect. It is also known as the New Garden Bumblebee.
The Tree Bumblebee is usually ginger-coloured on its thorax, with black hairs on its abdomen. Its tail is white. It has a rounded head and a short proboscis (nose).
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The Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa caffra) is an African insect in the bee family. It is not a Bumblebee, because a Bumblebee has a hairy body.
The Carpenter Bee has six legs, two pairs of wings, and three body parts: (1) head, (2) thorax, and (3) abdomen. It has a shiny black body with two yellow bands or orange-red bands. It has black wings. Its two antennae are medium-sized. The male does not have a stinger. The female has a stinger on its tail, but it is not aggressive.
The Carpenter Bee grows to about 4-5 centimetres (2 inches) long.
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