Sep 25 2012

Grab Hold And Shake

Published by at 7:29 am under Insects, Fish, Frogs

Did you know that bumblebees purposely vibrate flowers to release their pollen?

Bumblebees collect both nectar and pollen to feed their young.  For the most part they travel from flower to flower and quickly gather what they need, but when a good food source is uncooperative they may resort to force.

When the flower entrance is nearly sealed, as in closed gentians, the bumblebee forces her way in.  When the flower’s anthers won’t release pollen, the bumblebee shakes them.  She does this by grabbing hold of the flower and vibrating her flight muscles — that’s what makes her buzz — so the technique is called buzz pollination.

A small percentage of plants must be shaken to release pollen but others benefit from it including shooting stars (Dodecatheon) and the Solanum genus: tomatoes, potatoes and eggplant.

Thus, bumblebees are often hired to pollinate greenhouse tomatoes.

Grab hold and shake!

(photo by Chuck Tague)

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Grab Hold And Shake”

  1. Michelleon 27 Sep 2012 at 10:24 am

    Of possible interest to bumble-lovers … (the transponders are fantastic!): http://www.plosbiology.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pbio.1001391

  2. Peggy Hookeyon 28 Sep 2012 at 9:40 am

    Another fascinating part of the nature adventure. Thanks.

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