Article posted Wednesday, July 2, 2014 12:13pm

Why do bumblebees buzz? Workers in Britain recorded and analyzed 1,289 buzzes from several species of bumblebee (Genus Bombus). It turns out that bumblebees have two distinct buzzes. One is an aggressive buzz that tells other bees: “buzz off, buster, or get a mouthful of sting.” The other kind of buzz, at a different frequency, is used to dislodge pollen from flowers so the bee can collect the pollen and take it back to its hive. Listen to a bumblebee while it is buzzing pollen from a flower, then reach out and stroke its back and you will hear a different kind of buzz. (DeLuca et al, 2014, Naturwissenschaftern, Feb. 22 issue)