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How does bumblebee barf create a queen?

What causes a baby bumblebee (the fuzzier and more weather-hardy cousins to honey bees) to become royalty remains a mystery. They don’t produce royal jelly but they produce a unique barf for their young. Enter entomologist Hollis Woodard and her students at UC Riverside who hope that by understanding how queens are created, they can mitigate on-going extinction crises in bumblebees species.

How does Woodard’s team catch and care for bumblebee queens and their daughter drones? And what chemical properties in their regurgitant might help determine how female larvae become queen bees? This Science Friday video documents their bumblebee barf experiments.

bumblebee queen and worker
bumblebee hive
bumblebee barf
Next: A female blue orchard bee builds her ‘bee-jeweled’ nest, the first 21 days of a bee’s life, a time lapse in 64 seconds, how honey is harvested, and more videos about all kinds of bees.

Bonus: Can bumblebees teach each other to pull a string?

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