Monday, May 26, 2014

Torpid Bees

One morning while deadheading some flowers, I noticed these bumble bees weren't moving- they appeared to be dead. I eased to the plant and blew softly on the movement. I tapped the stems with my finger...still no movement. I wondered how on earth do these bees remain suspended on the flower petals if they're dead? A few minutes later, the bees began moving slowly around the flower then all of a sudden they took off, flying and buzzing as usual. I found out through research that bees go into a state of torpor when the weather is cold (below 40 degrees).  However, on that particular morning the outdoor temperature was about 70 degrees.  

While doing research on this strange behavior of bees, I discovered that bees, among other insects and animals, go into a state of torpor to conserve energy during cold weather or when food sources are limited. While in the torpid state, the heart rate, respirations and body temperature slows down and the insect or animal becomes dormant.  The surfaces of many flowers allow the bees to "cling" to them for hours while torpid.   

I also read that butterflies and hummingbirds exhibit the same behavior.  I had no idea...  Nature never ceases to amaze me :))))

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