After a rainy week in not-so-sunny California, blue sky is finally starting to appear in the horizon, the temperature is rising, and the cherry, apple, and almond trees are blossoming. Just as different flowers bloom at different times during the season, different bees emerge at different times as well. Recently, as I was walking around my neighborhood, I was thrilled to see my first bumble bees (Bombus) of the season. Bumble bees use an ingenious mechanism to warm themselves up and get a head start over the competition.
I have not seen the documentary Life in the Undergrowth (narrated by David Attenborough, of course) in its entirety, but one of my professors played this clip in a class, and it has some lovely infrared footage of bumblebees getting warmed up for the day:
The next few posts that I write will focus on the unfortunate plight of native bumble bees in North and South America. Similarly to the honey bee, many native bee species have been experiencing recent population declines. In the case of the bumble bee, tomato farming practices may be the culprit.