Bumble bees are large yellow and black flying insects that harvest nectar and pollen from flowering plants. They play an important role in keeping the world’s ecosystems healthy. Here are ten interesting facts about this hardworking insect.
1. Bumble bees have extremely fast metabolisms and must eat almost continuously.
2. Bumble bees use buzz pollination. They place their upper body close to the inside of the flower and rapidly vibrate their flight muscles, producing a strong vibration. This shakes the pollen-free.
3. Bumble bees have two stomachs: one for eating and one for storing nectar.
4. Unlike honey bees, bumble bees can sting more than once because their stinger is smooth, not barbed.
5. Bumble bees have five eyes: two large eyes on either side of their heads and three eyes on the top of their heads.
6. Bumble bee colonies die in late fall except for new queens, which hibernate underground over the winter.
7. Bumble bees beat their wings 130 or more times per second.
8. Bumble bees get their name from the word bumble, which means to buzz, hum, or move about awkwardly.
9. Bumble bees are covered in a layer of oil that makes them resistant to water.
10. The largest bumble bee species can grow to an inch and a half long.
Find out how to attract bumble bees into your yard to see these insects up close.
Rain or Shine: Embracing the Rainy Days of Summer
Summer is synonymous with sunny skies, outdoor activities, and picnics in the park. But what happens when the weather decides not to cooperate, and the clear blue skies turn gray with rain? Does it mean an end to all the fun? Certainly not! With a bit of creativity, rainy summer days can be filled with activities that are just as entertaining.
Should the rain not be accompanied by thunderstorms, being outside in the rain can be a delightful experience. Dressed in your best rain jacket and rubber boots, you can engage in games that turn rain into a source of fun. Whether it’s floating paper boats or plastic ducks in puddles, building sandcastles or sculpting animals from wet dirt, or observing the little critters like snails and earthworms that come out in the rain, outdoor fun doesn’t have to cease because of a bit of water.
If heading outdoors in the rain doesn’t appeal to you, there are plenty of indoor activities to keep you entertained. Rainy days provide the perfect opportunity to try a detailed craft project like creating characters out of homemade play dough or paper maché. You could also put on a puppet show, dance recital, or concert, or bake delicious cookies, prepare a fruit salad, or make cheese skewers.
And if cabin fever starts to set in, and you have access to transportation, there are numerous places you can visit to stay dry and have fun. Consider visiting the library to find an interesting book, swimming in an indoor public pool, or testing your skills at an entertainment venue like an arcade or bowling alley.
So, the next time the summer skies darken with rain clouds, remember that it doesn’t mean the end of your fun. Embrace the change in weather and use it as an opportunity to try something new!
From Steaming Springs to Spectacular Spouts: How Geysers Work
Witnessing a geyser eruption is a spectacular sight that often leaves observers in awe of nature’s majesty. But have you ever wondered what powers this extraordinary display? The furious bursts of scalding water and the grandeur of the phenomenon can be attributed to a complex process taking place beneath the Earth’s surface. A geyser, unlike the playful water fountains seen at amusement parks, is a hotbed of geothermal activity. Fed by rainwater that seeps deep into the ground, a geyser’s water accumulates in an underground reservoir located near geothermal hotspots, typically in volcanic regions.
As the water seeps deeper, it approaches the Earth’s molten core, rich with magma. This magma, the molten rock that forms deep within the Earth, isn’t just a scorching, liquid inferno — it’s also packed with gases. The close proximity of the reservoir to the magma’s heat leads the water to reach temperatures beyond the boiling point. This extreme heat transforms the water into steam.
In this high-pressure environment, the steam searches for a way out. It forces its way through cracks in the rock, escaping to the surface in a violent and dramatic display — a geyser eruption. Like a pot boiling over, the geyser sends a high-pressure jet of steam and hot water skyrocketing over 150 feet into the air.
Impressive geysers have become major attractions in several parts of the world. One can marvel at these natural fountains in places such as Iceland, New Zealand, and Chile. However, Yellowstone National Park in the United States boasts the highest concentration, housing several hundred of these fascinating geothermal wonders.
Geysers are a testament to the power and intricate beauty of Earth’s natural processes. More than just a spectacle, they serve as a window to the intense geothermal activity that takes place beneath our feet, reminding us of the volcanic forces that helped shape our planet. Understanding their mechanism not only satisfies our curiosity but also underscores the importance of conserving these natural wonders for future generations to appreciate.
How much do you know about butterflies?
Do you like to watch pretty butterflies? Learn more about these pollinating insects by answering the following questions. Good luck!
True or false
1. Moths are usually more colorful than butterflies
2. Butterflies lay eggs
3. Some butterflies migrate
4. Butterfly antennae can detect odors, humidity, and temperature
5. How many butterfly species exist?
a) About 74,000
b) About 157,000
c) About 206,000
6. Which of these insects is not a butterfly?
a) Painted lady
b) Cabbage white
c) Scarlet dragonfly
7. What family of insects do butterflies belong to?
Who am I?
8. I’m a well-known butterfly with bright orange and black wings. My name is synonymous with the word “royalty.”
9. I’m the silk casing that shelters a butterfly as it transforms.
10. I’m the butterfly in its pupa stage, transforming from caterpillar to adult. My name rhymes with “fiddlesticks.”
11. I’m the butterfly’s “mouth.” It works like an elephant’s trunk and allows me to collect nectar from flowers.
Spring is in the air! Test your knowledge of this sunny season with this short quiz.
1. What’s the first day of spring called?
a) The vernal equinox
b) The spring solstice
c) The Easter equinox
d) The Easter solstice
2. On the first day of spring, day and night are nearly the same length. How long are they?
a) 10 hours
b) 12 hours
c) 14 hours
d) 8 hours
3. Is spring considered the year’s first, second, third, or fourth season?
4. Which of the following holidays doesn’t happen in spring?
b) April Fool’s Day
c) Mother’s Day
d) Valentine’s Day
5. What does spring symbolize?
6. Spring is often associated with allergies. What’s considered the biggest allergy trigger?
1. a). In the northern hemisphere, spring usually begins on March 20 or 21 but can sometimes start early on March 19.
2. b). The day is slightly longer than the night on the first day of spring.
3. a). The seasons go in order from spring, summer, fall, and winter.
4. d). Spring lasts for about three months and ends on June 21.
5. c). Spring is all about new beginnings and starting fresh.
6. c). Hay fever is what you call a pollen allergy.
3 interesting migratory birds
Migration is when an animal moves from one region or habitat to another during a particular season. Many birds migrate twice a year. During the winter, they go south; in the spring, they return to the north. Here are some facts about three interesting migratory birds.
1. Hummingbirds. Calliope hummingbirds are the world’s smallest long-distance migratory birds, traveling 5,000 miles annually. They leave central and southern British Columbia in late summer, flying south along the Pacific Coast and the American West to reach Mexico. Their long purplish-red throat feathers can identify adult male calliope hummingbirds.
2. Arctic tern. Arctic terns migrate yearly from the Arctic Circle to the Antarctic Circle. This round-trip journey of about 18,500 miles makes it one of the longest migrations of any bird species on the planet. Arctic terns can sleep and eat while gliding. They can also hover in midair, much like hummingbirds.
3. Bar-headed goose. Every spring, bar-headed geese fly from India through the Himalayan mountains and above Mount Everest to their nesting grounds in Tibet. They must cross some of the highest peaks in the world, rising to nearly 23,000 feet in altitude. Bar-headed geese rely on flapping their wings, not on gliding, and can fly over 50 miles per hour without wind to help them.
Which migratory birds do you see where you live?
Spring into action: 4 fun activities
Spring is a great time to get outdoors and have fun. Here are four fun activities that may inspire you to get some fresh air.
1. Go on a nature hunt. Challenge yourself to collect unique items like pinecones, leaves, rocks, feathers, and wildflowers. You can use what you find to make crafts, gifts, and spring decor.
2. Watch birds. Birdwatching is a great way to study nature. Borrow a bird book from your local library and see how many different species you can spot in your neighborhood.
3. Dance in the rain. Spring is often associated with rain showers. Next time it rains, put on your rain gear and play in puddles. Don’t forget your umbrella!
4. Go on a picnic. Spring is the perfect time for a picnic because the weather is mild and there aren’t many insects. Bring a blanket and some delicious snacks while enjoying the sounds of nature.
Invite your friends and family to join you outdoors.