When it comes to bees, you may wonder what all the buzz is about. The rapid wing beats of bees create vibrations in the air that the human ear detects as buzzing.

The bigger a bee is, the slower its wings beat. The slower its wings beat, the lower the pitch of the buzzing will sound.

Buzzing isn’t just for show, however — it also serves an important purpose. When certain species of “buzz-pollinating” bees, such as bumblebees, visit a flower, the buzzing and vibrations of their wings and bodies cause pollen to shake off the flower.

The pollen then attaches to the bee’s body and is deposited on the next flower the bee stops to visit. This transfer of pollen from flower to flower is called “pollination.”

Bees play such an important role in pollination that some plants — such as blueberries, green peppers and tomatoes — have adapted to help make the process easier for buzzing bees. Bumblebees pollinate these crops much more efficiently than “non-buzzing” bees, such as honeybees.

So the next time you find yourself snacking on a handful of blueberries — thank a bumblebee!

 

8 Join the Discussion

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  (6 votes, avg. 4.17 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...
    • We appreciate the great feedback, Linda!

      Are there other topics you wonder about? Let us know what they are by clicking on the “nominate a wonder” link on the toolbar at the top of this page. We’d LOVE to hear your ideas for future Wonders of the Day! :-)

    • Bats would be a GREAT topic for a future Wonder of the Day! Why don’t you click on the “nominate a wonder” link at the top of this page and tell us what you’re wondering about bats?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Share

  • Wonderopolis on Facebook
  • Wonderopolis on Pinterest
  • Print

Have you ever wondered…

  • What causes bumblebees’ buzzing sound?
  • Does buzzing serve a practical purpose?
  • Do certain plants attract buzzing bees?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

Now that you know what all the buzz is about, why not plant a bee-utiful bee-friendly garden? The Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s website offers a listing of bee-friendly flowers that will bring the buzz right to your backyard.

 

Still Wondering

Explore different types of communication from the bee perspective with the Dances with Bees activity from Science NetLinks.

 

Wonder Categories/Tags

Categories

Tags

adapt  bees  pollen  species 

Wonder What’s Next?

Tomorrow’s special guest is nicknamed “Big Blue.” We won’t reveal his true identity, however — you’ll have to come back and meet him for yourself! It’s sure to be a whale of a time.

Upload a Photo or Paste the URL of a YouTube or SchoolTube Video.