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.Can bumblebees teach each other to pull a string?