Monday, June 20, 2011

Do Not Disturb

Shhh . . . bees sleeping

DSCF3508Last week, I told Grenville that we had lots of bee sleepovers in the Frog & PenguINN wildflower gardens.  He was skeptical, asking “where are their blankets, pillows or teddy bears?” So he blew on one to see if it moved – it did, and so did Grenville!


Ever wonder where bees sleep at night?
You’d know, if you’ve ever looked in your gardens late in the day or early in the morning and seen lots of inactive bumblebees on the flowers. (We’ve only seen bumblebees sleeping, not honeybees.)

Usually, the bumblebees are males. Male bumble bees do not have stingers, so you can take a closer look. A neighbor of ours boasts that he’s always petting them.DSCF3520

Bumblebee nests are often very small so the males don’t have aDSCF3543 place to nest. Many find a flower to rest on.
Bees hold on with either their legs or their mandibles and tuck in for the night. Many  sleep in flowers that close up for the night, which helps keep them safe from predators. Once the day starts warming up, the male bees begin stirring and either continue pollination or search for females to mate with.

bee sleep collage

Research has showed that bees at rest exhibit some of the same characteristics as humans in a sleep period: they don't move around, they don't react to stimuli very readily, their muscles relax, and their body temperature drops. So, while buzzing in the hive is probably not snoring, researchers concluded that bees DO sleep. (Reference: Southwick, E. E. "Bee sleep". American Bee Journal 131:165-166, 1991)

If a bumblebee is NOT sleeping,how do you know it’s upset?  If the bee is on a flower or other surface and feels threatened, it will raise one of its middle legs. This is a sign that you are too close and should back off a bit.


grammie g said...

HI information packed post of even the bee's knee!! haha!!
Bees and I don't get along I stay clear no... blowing on them for me!!
I am allergic to bee bites...last time I got bit I was in the cardiac unit for 4 hours...I stay clear and don't pet them either haha!!

Montanagirl said...

Hmmmm....very informative! Nice photos too!

Elaine said...

I never thought about bees sleeping. Of course, if I see a bee I am not going to get close enough to check whether it's sleeping or whether it's male. Like grammie I have an allergic reaction to bee stings. Nice accompanying photos!

Cicero Sings said...

Yes, very informative and interesting info.

Out on the prairie said...

Very nice info!i like to get close but I am not sure if I would pet them. Most of the bumbles ignore you.I like to listen to their buzz when neaar a field of blooms.

Anvilcloud said...

I am not very good at checking the sex of bees.

possum said...

A fun post. Nice shots.
I am allergic to wasp stings, and yellow jackets, but not bees. However, I give them great respect.

Sandra said...

I refuse to get close enough to see if the back leg is raised, whoo hooo. we are talking major fear of bees all of them. this is really interesting, never thought about them sleeping. our mini powder puff bush homes with bees during the day, no noise at night, now i wonder if they are sleeping there all night. i thought i was safe at night. i will NOT blow on them to see if they are asleep

HermitJim said...

I have a rule about bees! They don't bother me and I don't bother them!

Works out pretty good for now!

Thanks for the info!

Anonymous said...

I really like these photographs! I don´t think I´ve ever seen a bumblebee sleep in a flower but then the sun gets up so early around here now, but I have seen them take cover in flowers if they get surprised by rain.

Have a great day!

Diana said...

HOw adorable I never knew.. so cute. thank you, Diana

Daisy said...

So do their alarm clocks BUZZ when they go off? hahaha! ;)

Nice pictures and interesting information, Beatrice.

Pat transplanted to MN said...

well I have some photo of bees at work and curled up too, but I never ventured to pet them....this had some interesting info. about bees......

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

OK, so no one is up for some bumblebee petting. I'll admit I was skeptical myself. I too have been on the wrong end of a bee when deadheading flowers and gotten stung a few times - not a fun experience as we all know.

But, I was daring enough to try and see if a bee could be actually petted without getting stung. I do NOT plan to do this on a regular basis and it was a bumblebee I "petted."

Good point AC - HOW does one tell the sex of a bumblebee?

Good puns Grammie G and Daisy - bees knees and buzzing alarms.

Hey HermitJim, GOOD advice with your "not bother" comment!

L. D. Burgus said...

The flowers with bees are all so beautiful.

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