Eastern Bumblebee (Bombus Impatiens)





Morphology


Kingdom: Animalia (Animals)
Bombus Impatiens
Bombus Impatiens

Phylum: Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Class: Insecta (Insects)
Order: Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)
Family: Apidae (Cuckoo, Carpenter, Digger, Bumble, and Honey Bees)
Subfamily: Apinae (Honey, Bumble, and Digger Bees)
Tribe: Bombini (Bumble Bees)
Genus: Bombus (Bumble Bees)
Species: impatiens (Common Eastern Bumble Bee)

These bees are characterized by a hairy black and yellow coat, glossy wings and a general size from 8.5 to 21 mm. This is the most common bee you will see along the eastern seaboard, and has the general structure of all other common bees. This includes the following:


Bee anatomy
Bee anatomy

The Head:Includes the mouth parts eyes and antenna.

The Thorax: Includes wings, flight muscles and legs.

The Abdomen:Includes the digestive organs, reproductive organs, and stinger.

Bumble bee stinger: The stinger of the bumble bee is unlike the stingers of some other bees. Instead of being barbed and breaking away when used, the stinger of the Eastern bumble bee is smooth and can be used several times without breaking away.
Bee stinger
Bee stinger





Habitat

The Eastern bumble bee name is derived from its native habitat on the Eastern seaboard of North America. The bees live generally anywhere in their native habitat, this includes country, suburbs, and intensely urbanized areas. The reason for the success is its ability to adapt to its environment and more specifically populated areas
Eastern bumble bee nest
Eastern bumble bee nest


Bumble bees adapting to their enviorment
Bumble bees adapting to their enviorment




Geographic Range

The general range of the Eastern bumble bee is Eastern North America, from Ontario to Maine and south to south Florida. The bees are common on the Atlantic coast but much less common near the western edge of its range (general midwest).
Geographic Range of Eastern Bumble Bee
Geographic Range of Eastern Bumble Bee




Mating Behavior

Mating between the male Eastern honey bee and female queen occurs near the end of the hives life cycle so that new queens are ready to create their own nests and repeat the life cycle. The mating between the male bee and queen be usually takes place while resting on the ground or on vegetation in a process lasting from 10 to 80 minutes. Although this is a very lengthy mating period The reason is that the male allows for his sperm to harden to ensure that his genes will be given the best chance to be incorporated into the next generation of bees. Queen bees are similar to worker bees (being that they are female) however queens are fed exclusively on royal jelly a substance that allows them to fully mature and grow much larger in size. After these queen bees mate with a drone they lay on average 2000 eggs in a single day, of which only about half survive to full adult-hood.
Bombus Impatiens mating
Bombus Impatiens mating



Bombus Impatiens mating
Bombus Impatiens mating




Life cycle

The life cycle starts with queens that have mated in the late summer finding residence to support a new colony. Perfect places for this colony include deserted small rodent nests, dead tussocky grass, and the base of untidy hedges. These spots provide an element of cover along with enough room to support a new hive. After this emergence the queen builds a wax pot and fills it with regurgitated nectar (honey). The wax for the honey pot is exuded from between the segments of the abdomen. The queen also builds up a store of pollen, some of this is eaten, and the rest she forms into a sphere moistening it with nectar, this is occasionally referred to as "bee bread". This store will enable the queen to survive several days of poor weather without foraging. So any queen found carrying pollen in her pollen baskets has already found a suitable nest site. Next, this pollen stimulates the queens ovaries to produce a new batch of eggs. The queen never strays to far from her brood due to the fact that she uses her body heat to ensure their survival. Should the temperature of the eggs reach below 30 degrees Celsius then their growth will be permanently stunted. The eggs hatch with about four days and the queen continuously seeks out more nectar to feed her growing offspring. The stages of the queens larvae occur in 13 segments and during this the larvae produce a layer of silk around themselves for protection. and eventually produce males and and female worker bees. The females ensure production in the colony and the males mate with the young queens (as shown in the previous section) and the cycle of the Eastern bumble bee repeats itself.



Bumble bee life cycle
Bumble bee life cycle




Feeding Habits

It is a common misconception that bees eat only the pollen or nectar from the flowers they harvest it from, the truth is that the bees use these raw materials to create honey which is consumed by the majority of the hive. Although in some instances the raw materials are sometimes used as a food source, honey is a much more necessary nutrition for the bees. The process of creating honey involves the bees consuming the pollen and nectar and regurgitating it after it mixes with the enzymes inside of their stomachs. This regurgitated honey is then stored for the winter when their will be no flowers to provide the raw ingredients for honey.
Bumble bee foraging for pollen
Bumble bee foraging for pollen


The video below is of an Eastern Bumble bee gathering pollen and nectar for the creation of honey.



















Ecological Role


The main ecological role of bees is to pollinate flowers to ensure the continual cycle of our current ecosystem. It is estimated that one third of our food supply is supported by the annual pollination of bees and without them the human population would most likely not be able to sustain itself. This is the reason for many apocalypse theories based on the extinction of bees, the most famous of which is Albert Einstein's theory in which he stated : “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.” This theory although pessimistic has been proven to be fact, with this in find many organizations such as American Bee Federation and Burt's Bees have been dedicated to the protection and preservation of all American bee species from a recent phenomena known as CCD or colony collapse disorder. This disorder has the worlds top scientists on edge because many theories have been proposed but no one has found the reason behind the mysterious destruction of many healthy hives.

This video shows the full magnitude of CCD.









In short, bees are a very diversified and necessary part of life, not only do they sustain themselves but they carry the weight of humanity with them With this said the preservation and protection of these bees is absolutely cardinal, and research is being conducted everyday by the United Nations to help bring an end to the CCD crisis and restore balance to our fragile ecosystem.
external image field-of-flowers.jpg



If you liked this page you might also like:


Burt's Bees
Smily Bee
Smily Bee

Burt's Bees
Burt's Bees







Transformers Bumble Bee

Bumble Bee Transformer
Bumble Bee Transformer



Remember to see my Glog at: Eastern Bumble bee glog


References

www.bumblebee.org Home Page
Species Bombus impatiens - Common Eastern Bumble Bee - BugGuide.Net
Burt's Bees - Natural Skin Care, Natural Beauty and Natural Personal Care Products
No single cause for mass die off of honey bees: OIE - Environment - The Independent
Colony collapse disorder - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Answers.com - What do bees eat
Bumblebee (Transformers) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Google Image Result for http://www.discoverlife.org/IM/I_JSA/0004/320/Bombus_impatiens,_Common_Eastern_Bumble_Bee,I_JSA475.jp
Colony Collapse Disorder decimating bee populations does not have one cause | HumanistLife
YouTube - Vanishing Bees - Colony Collapse Disorder
YouTube - Bumble bee feeding on nectar