You know why we refer to hardworking people as “busy bees“? Because bees are awesome. They do lots of super important things for us, such as providing us with lots of delicious foods and pretty flowers. While we might not be excited to see one flying toward us on picnic day, they’re a lot easier to appreciate when we get to see them at work.
In this video from the Smithsonian Channel, shot in West Virginia, we get to see in slow motion just how the bumblebee, the “best known relative to the honey bee,” dislodges pollen from a flower. The way the little bugger does it is by grabbing the flower by its anthers and “violently shak[ing]” it using its flight muscles. That gets “the blossom to dislodge the pollen,” which it can then bring back to the colony.
This is known as “buzz pollination,” and this “technique is the only efficient way to pollinate plants like tomatoes, eggplants, and blueberries.” Considering those are two very excellent components to many a delicious main course, plus one very vital substance to the muffin and pancake eaters of the world, the fact that bees continue to die at an alarming rate is very troublesome. We have no human method of replicating nature’s perfect little pollen movers, but we are also struggling to save them.
None of us wants to live in a world without flowers, tomatoes, or bees. That would really sting.
What did you find most interesting in this video? Buzz down below to pollinate our comments section with your thoughts.
Images: Smithsonian Channel/YouTube