Busy bees, it turns out, also need a good night’s sleep and perhaps even a nap during the day, just like us.
Bumble bees often get tired from buzzing around gathering pollen and will crawl into a flower and fall asleep, often with their rounded, hairy abdomens covered with pollen, showing through the petals.
Bumble bees are very hairy, which is useful for gathering food and for pollinating as they buzz among the flowers. There are several different species, ranging from small to large in size, and have different colored bands, ranging from black to orange, to yellow and white, running from their heads to the tip of their abdomens.
Honey bees are of similar size, also carry pollen baskets and have hair, but it’s very sparse compared to that of the bumble bee which makes it easier to tell them apart.
While many species of wild bees sleep in flowers regularly, honey bees usually work in shifts and sleep and nap in the hive although they may well stay out if they lost their bearings during the day’s foraging.
According to Brandon Hopkins, a bee researcher at Washington State University, it’s important that honey bees sleep because it helps them remember where to find pollen and nectar.
The males of many species stay outside at night, often in large groups. Their sole purpose in life being to impregnate a female to replace an aging or dying queen.
Female bees are the workers, taking care of the queen, the hive and buzzing around all day, every day, doing the essential job of foraging and pollination. In fact, they are essential workers, who, together with their fellow insect pollinators deserve our protection, respect and thanks. Without them our ecosystems would fail and the world as we know it would fail.
So, should you spot a sleeping bee, enjoy the sight and wish them good night!