Wednesday, May 29, 2024
4-H youth during Bee City USA Camp collecting native bumble bees, chilling the insects to collect data and photograph, prior to releasing, for the PNW Bumble Bee Atlas Project.

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MASTER GARDENER: Bumble bee basics
July 29, 2022 1:06 a.m.

MASTER GARDENER: Bumble bee basics

How you can help protect them

Bumble bees are an important pollinator of wild flowering plants, as well as garden and agricultural crops. Bumbles will fly in low light levels, in cooler temperatures, and perform “buzz pollination” – a pollination technique where the bee grabs the flower in its mandible and vibrates its wing muscles to release pollen from the flower. Many home-garden crops, like tomatoes and peppers benefit from buzz pollination. However, the bees were a bit late in arriving this year due to the cold, wet spring. This caused a delay in the emergence of mated bees from their overwintering sites, and in turn, delayed their offspring from foraging during the spring to summer transition.