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A Poo Question

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My question to ponder on today....I thought someone out here might have an idea..

 

Bees poo   ‘on the wing’. .   Do they also sometimes poo when sitting foraging on flowers?    I have thought it is mainly when they are flying but I don’t know.   I have had pissy bees ####e on me occasionally over the years when I’ve upset them but I can’t say I have ever seen a bee naturally ‘doing its thing’. Mid flight..

 

And im talking about healthy bees not one with nosema or disease.etc. 

 

AND then to BUMBLEBEES - can anyone tell me do Bumblebees poo - like honeybees - I.e. in flying mode or do they poo when on flowers. Or possible both.   

 

AND does anyone know what Bumbebee Poo looks like?  Is it a just bigger version of honeybees deposits?  I figure it might be as they are pollen feeders but not sure?

 

 

these thoughts have come about as one of my customers neighbours is having an issue with bee poo  on her windows and it was wondered if it could be Bumblebee poo - as they have a lot of Bumblebees around the house?

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I suppose it's like any other living creature - when a bee's gotta poo, a bee's gotta poo, no matter where ( some creatures are just a bit more domesticated than others).  🙈🙉🙊

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This would be a topic for Nelson, @npomeroy

 

Well most of your suppositions seem to me correct, both 'bees feed and 'poop' under the same conditions, mostly on the wing, outside, but sometimes in your hand, in a petrie dish, or on a flower or leaf. I would say bumblebee's poo is more watery, less waxy, but that's about the extent of the difference as far as I've seen. And yes, people do collect it in a petrie dish - to look for pollen or parasite DNA.

 

An area that's not clear to me is what queens do when they are incubating on their own early on, and later when they no longer leave the nest.

 

I think it unlikely that they contribute to your neighbour's decorations simply because there aren't enough of them, they fly lower, and don't have the same consistent, shared flight-path.

 

If you want to think a bit more about bumble bees, how about wondering about how queens, and workers develop. Royal Jelly doesn't seem to be a bumble bee 'thing'!

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Bumble bees, due to have small (up to few 100's) colonies that are short lived (up to a few months), don't need to have the sanitary habits of honey bees.  While I'm sure foragers sometimes poop on the wing most defecation is done at the edge of the nest, i.e. between the nest material of dead grass or whatever, and the surrounding earth.  So the queen does not leave the nest to do it.  Natural nests often get a bit sticky at edges with the accumulations but it composts away.  Artificial hives are a different matter as they are usually made of non-porous material and can get quite boggy by the peak of colony development.  I actually had an honours student do her project on defecation patterns back in the 70's, with a view to improving the design of hives.  When doing their business, bumble bees turn around, often walk backwards a short distance, touch their "tail" to a rough surface, pause, squirt, and walk away.  The faeces are watery with tiny pollen pellets suspended in them.

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Thank you so much @npomeroy and @DaveBlack - that explains quite a lot though now I am interested in what DAVE Black said about Royal Jelly not being a Bumblebee ‘thing’ .   

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18 hours ago, Bees said:

Thank you so much @npomeroy and @DaveBlack - that explains quite a lot though now I am interested in what DAVE Black said about Royal Jelly not being a Bumblebee ‘thing’ .   

 

No, bumble bees don't have any food substance equivalent to royal jelly.  I did some work measuring the pollen intake of queen larvae and various sized smaller workers and there was a linear relationship between pollen intake and adult mass.  It looks like queens just get fed more - they are about 3 times the mass of a typical worker - but there is quite possibly some hormonal influence as well.

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15 hours ago, npomeroy said:

 

No, bumble bees don't have any food substance equivalent to royal jelly.  I did some work measuring the pollen intake of queen larvae and various sized smaller workers and there was a linear relationship between pollen intake and adult mass.  It looks like queens just get fed more - they are about 3 times the mass of a typical worker - but there is quite possibly some hormonal influence as well.

Do bumble bees have the equivalent to the haploid drones of honey bees @npomeroy please?

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All Hymenoptera have haploid males.

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