An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Bumblebees Active On Cool Mornings

5-2-18 bumblebee2 096

There is a reason why we often see bumblebees before we see honey bees in the early spring. It’s a matter of 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Bumblebees will fly when the air temperature is as low as 50°F. and sometimes lower. Honey bees cannot fly if it’s colder than 55°F.

Even though they can fly at 50°F., bumblebees cannot take off unless their flight muscles are above 86°F. and they must keep the temperature of their thorax between 86°F. and 104°F. In order to accomplish this, bumblebees uncouple their wing muscles so that the wings themselves do not move, and then use the muscles to shiver and raise their thorax temperature. (Photo: Tri-colored Bumblebee & Trailing Arbutus)

Naturally Curious is supported by donations. If you choose to contribute, you may go to https://naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com and click on the yellow “donate” button.

10 responses

  1. Alice Pratt

    Love seeing Bumbles & Honeys.pretty flower…great photo!

    May 2, 2018 at 8:39 am

  2. “… In order to accomplish this, bumblebees uncouple their wing muscles so that the wings themselves do not move, and then use the muscles to shiver and raise their thorax temperature.” – Whaaaat??? Unreal what adaptations have developed!

    May 2, 2018 at 8:42 am

  3. Jane Marshall

    Fascinating! I would never have known this without Naturally Curious! Thanks so much for these little lessons about our outside world.

    May 2, 2018 at 9:28 am

  4. Bud and Jane

    Interesting facts about bees!!

    Jane

    >

    May 2, 2018 at 9:59 am

  5. Susan Holland

    Great post as always. Love this photograph!!! Looks like your new camera is a success ~ so glad!

    May 2, 2018 at 2:19 pm

  6. Troy

    Really nice post

    May 2, 2018 at 2:32 pm

  7. Rita Pitkin

    What? really? I never knew this.

    May 2, 2018 at 3:15 pm

  8. Iain Stewart

    No Bumbles here in Massachusetts, just a lot of Carpenter Bees, as usual.

    May 2, 2018 at 6:32 pm

  9. Jean Harrison

    What a beautiful animal.

    May 2, 2018 at 11:08 pm

  10. Deb

    Hi Mary, Great photo! The ability of the bumbuble bee to fly in low temps & vibtrate its body also makes it one of our most effective native pollinators. It’s a timely post given the decline of some bumblebee species. Thanks for the awareness and for all that you do!

    May 3, 2018 at 6:37 am

Leave a Reply to Jean Harrison Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s