Get smart curated videos delivered to your inbox.   SUBSCRIBE
The Kid Should See This

A bumblebee dislodges pollen in slow-mo

Sonication or buzz pollination is the bumblebee‘s secret weapon of resonant vibration. When bumblebees (and a few other bee species) grab onto a flower and vibrate it by flying in place, securely attached pollen is dislodged. From BayNature.org:

Buzz pollination can be useful for releasing or collecting pollen from many types of flowers, but it is essential for some, including tomatoes, blueberries, and our native manzanitas. The anthers (male reproductive organs) of these flowers have only small pores through which pollen is released, like the holes in a pepper shaker. Sometimes wind or visits from insects can inadvertently shake out some pollen, but the amounts are small. Also, many of these flowers do not produce nectar, so honeybees ignore them anyway.

Bumblebees, by contrast, actively collect and eat not just nectar but also protein-rich pollen. And a bumblebee can cause a flower to discharge a visible cloud of pollen through buzz pollination. The bumblebee grasps the flower with its legs or mouthparts and vibrates its flight muscles very rapidly without moving its wings. This vibration shakes electrostatically charged pollen out of the anthers, and the pollen is attracted to the bumblebee’s oppositely charged body hairs. The bumblebee later grooms the pollen from its body into pollen-carrying structures on its back legs for transport to its nest.

See in action above in this video from the Smithsonian Channel: Slow-Mo Footage of a Bumble Bee Dislodging Pollen.

We also recommend Bees: A Honeyed History, a beautifully illustrated book about the bee life cycle, bee anatomy, swarms, the Waggle Dance, beehives, pollination, flowers and our food, bees and dinosaurs, and more.

Next: More pollination videos and more about bees.

This Webby award-winning video collection exists to help teachers, librarians, and families spark kid wonder and curiosity. TKSST features smarter, more meaningful content than what's usually served up by YouTube's algorithms, and amplifies the creators who make that content.

Curated, kid-friendly, independently-published. Support this mission by becoming a sustaining member today.

The makers of the SAVE plug-in are no longer supporting it. For site speed and security, I've chosen to discontinue its use. If you have saved videos, please back them up with browser bookmarks, Pinterest, or another page saving tool, before they disappear in May 2021. Thank you.
 
This video was posted 5 years ago.

Watch more videos about...

 

 

🌈 Watch these videos next...

Why are wasps just as wonderful as bees?

Rion Nakaya

The incredible secret life of London’s bees

Rion Nakaya

Hummingbird Battleground in the Talamanca Mountains

Rion Nakaya

How does bumblebee barf create a queen?

Rion Nakaya

A female blue orchard bee builds her ‘bee-jeweled’ nest

Rion Nakaya

Can bumblebees teach each other to pull a string?

Rion Nakaya

The Corpse Flower: Behind the Stink of the Titan Arum

Rion Nakaya

Silverspot Butterfly Time Lapse

Rion Nakaya

Meet the Natives: Can wild bees also pollinate our plants & crops?

Rion Nakaya