Bumblebees: Understanding The Swarm

There are over 250 different species of bumblebees in the world, each with its own unique characteristics. These insects are usually around 2 cm in length and black with yellow or orange bands. The bumblebee genus is considered to be a social genus. This means that they live in communities, typically in a nest with drones (males), workers, and a queen.

So, how does a hive begin and what are the dynamics of a bumblebee hive? After a cold winter, the queen bee will begin to form a new nest. She will first begin by laying her first group of eggs (6-8 eggs). These larvae will eventually develop into workers and begin to collect pollen and develop the hive. The queen at this point will begin to devote her life to laying eggs and producing the colony. At this point, the queen will continue to lay solely worker bees until a certain population is met. At this point, the queen will produce drones and even other queen bees. This development completes the social community of the hive until the cold weather kills them off and they have to begin again next year using leftover larvae.

One of the things you might wonder is how the queen controls the types of bees she is producing. One of the abilities of the queen is to release pheromones that help determine the sex of her progeny. Although there are other females in the hive, the queen bee is the only one capable of determining the offspring’s sex. The reason for this is because of how she is treated within the community. She is cared for and fed by workers and drones enough to become fully sexually mature. Other female worker bees can produce offspring but they can not determine the sex.

Unlike most people believe, bumblebees can sting but rarely do. They are typically calm and relaxed bees that will only attack when they feel threatened. Unlike other types of bees, however, bumblebees do not swarm. Instead, they can be found individually. Other types of bees are stingless but, instead of having stingers, they have painful bites. So, no matter the type of bee you are handling, always bee careful.

#32 Top 5 Hardest Classes In College

So far, I am in my junior year of college and I have taken almost all the required courses for a Biology major with a concentration in Biomedical Studies. On top of that I have taken many Honors courses as well as Pre-PA courses (#29 Want To Be a PA? What To Know). Most of these have been difficult but today I will be ranking the 5 hardest courses I have taken thus far.

5. Human Physiology

Photo by MART PRODUCTION on Pexels.com

This course is usually a combined course with Anatomy at most schools but, Arcadia University separates these classes. This course is a load of fun with some difficult material. All in all, it is one of the easier courses on this list due to its relevance to human life. Many things you learn you will have heard in the past and there is a massive amount of information that you can study from. Its course load is extremely high and it is extremely easy to fall behind. For this reason, it has been listed as the fifth hardest course on my list.

4. Biochemistry

Photo by Chokniti Khongchum on Pexels.com

Biochemistry is an upper-level course that many people avoid. Its prerequisites require that you take General Chemistry I, General Chemistry II, Organic Chemistry, and the General Biology courses. This course is the true bridge between Biology and Chemistry. In this class, you will use Biology concepts such as Glycolysis and Gluconeogenesis and explain them using Organic and General Chemistry. This courses material is difficult in all aspects but, the amount of material is less than other classes on this list.

3. General Chemistry II

Photo by Artem Podrez on Pexels.com

General Chemistry II is often one of the courses you hear many first years complaining about. I am here to say that they are not complaining for no reason (#14 General Chemistry. How To Do Well). If you have taken General Chemistry II you will know the struggle of getting extremely low grades while studying material that is very difficult. The fact is that the equations and concepts taught during this course may be basic to an upper-level Biology or Chemistry major but, to a first-year student, it is like trying to learn a new language. Not only does this class have a difficult curriculum but the curriculum you cover is conceptual. This means you have to be visual and logical as well as knowledgeable about the equations and theories.

2. Comparative Anatomy and Physiology

Photo by Monique Laats on Pexels.com

Comparative Anatomy and Physiology is not a typical course many people hear about before college. It is sometimes called zoology. This course looks into every development of life from a sponge to a modern human. You begin the semester by learning about sponges and simple forms of life. You will slowly move on to more complex forms of life like arthropods, fish, birds, and eventually humans. What makes this course harder than most courses is that the language between animals is extremely different. Typically for a class, you will begin to see similar words used. However, in this course words will never be the same between species and you will often find yourself trying to keep track of this complex vocabulary. The immense amount of detail and work that is needed for this class is also an immense amount. This is why I have ranked Comparative Anatomy and Physiology second on my list.

1. Organic Chemistry

Photo by Artem Podrez on Pexels.com

Organic Chemistry is notoriously a difficult course no matter where you take it. It is an extremely difficult material to understand is one of the main reasons it is ranked as the hardest course on my list. However, there is an even bigger reason it is ranked as number one. Organic Chemistry is a cumulative class. What I mean by this is that everything you learn from the first to last day builds on top of each other. So, if you do not understand a specific topic or theory, it is not just going to disappear. Everyone learns Organic Chemistry in the same order because without certain knowledge and material you can not solve certain problems. Other classes are not like this. Usually, if you struggle in one area you can do badly on it and move on. Organic Chemistry is not like that and this is why it has earned its spot at the top of my list.