Bumblebees (Latin Bombus) are a genus of hymenoptera insects that are close relatives of honey bees. About 300 species of bumblebees live in Northern Eurasia, North America, North Africa, as well as in the mountains of some other regions.
Bumblebees are one of the most cold-resistant insects. They are able, by quickly and often contracting the muscles of the chest, to rapidly warm up their body to the required 40 ° C. This allows them to fly out early in the morning and collect the first nectar when the air has not yet warmed up enough, and gives bumblebees a certain competitive advantage over other species of insects.
It helps the bumblebee to warm up with its "wool" - it reduces heat loss by half.
In flight, 90% of all energy is converted into heat, and therefore the temperature of the flying bumblebee is constant: 36 "C at an ambient temperature of 5 ° C, and 45 ° C at 35 ° C in the air. At higher temperatures, the bumblebee cannot fly out- Although there are cooling mechanisms in bumblebees: a flying bumblebee releases a drop of liquid from its mouth, which evaporates and cools its head.
The bumblebee is unable to maintain a high body temperature when sitting motionless.
The bumblebee develops a speed of 18 km / h.
Bumblebees live in colonies of 50-200 individuals each. The colony consists of three types of individuals: females, workers (immature females) and males. The founder of the family is the female uterus; this is one of the few females that have overwintered fertilized in the fall. In early spring (late April-May), the uterus alone begins to build a nest.
A feature of bumblebees is that, unlike other social bees, all larvae develop and feed together, in one chamber. Under normal conditions, the female, having laid 200-400 eggs that give workers, begins to lay eggs, from which females and males develop.
It has long been noticed that a "trumpeter" appears in the bumblebee nests before dawn, who, as it was believed, raises his fellow tribesmen to work with a hum. But it turned out that he was just shivering from the cold. Indeed, in the early morning hours, the temperature at the soil surface drops dramatically. The nest cools down and, in order to warm it, the bumblebees have to work hard with their pectoral muscles.
On hot days, you can see a bumblebee at the entrance to the nest, which flutters its wings. He is involved in the ventilation of the nest.
Bumblebees, like bees, have poison, but, unlike bees, bumblebees do not leave a sting in human skin. And they can sting, respectively, many times in a row.
Separate relatives of bumblebees called cuckoo bumblebees differ in a parasitic way of life, they put their larvae in the hives of other bumblebees, and besides, they mimic their color.
There is a common misconception that the bumblebee flies against the laws of aerodynamics. It probably arose at the beginning of the 20th century when trying to apply lift calculations designed for airplanes to a bumblebee. Physicist Zheng Jane Wang from Cornell University (USA) proved that the flight of insects does not violate physical laws. This required many hours of supercomputer modeling of the complex movement of air around rapidly moving wings. Wang notes that the old bumblebee myth is simply a consequence of a poor understanding of unsteady viscous gas dynamics by aircraft engineers.
Due to the low aggressiveness of bumblebees, they can be widely used in garden and summer cottages. There is even an industry called bumblebee breeding - breeding bumblebees for pollination of crops in order to increase their yield.
The words of the famous song "Shaggy Bumblebee" from the movie "Cruel Romance" are a very free adaptation of R. Kipling's poem The Gipsy Trail, published in the December 1892 issue of The Century magazine. By the way, once Dmitry Medvedev, not yet the President of the Russian Federation, sang this song at a friend's wedding, disguised as a gypsy, for which he received the nickname "Bumblebee" in gratitude.