Friday, 22 May 2015

Heat Wave claims a Bumble Bee

Prevailing heat wave in India has claimed many human lives.
It has not spared insects either.

Yesterday, in our courtyard in Secunderabad, Telangana I noticed a shiny insect lying still. Motionless.

Closer scrutiny revealed that it was lying on its back and there was some movement of its forehead/mouth. I couldn't recognise the insect. First instinct-- that it was a honey bee. But honey bees don't have such colourful wings.

Like it happens with many butterflies, if you restore them on their feet, they regain their strength and fly off. I tried exactly that. Turned it over withe help of a leaf.

I noticed some movement in its front part-- as if gasping for breath. I thought the insect needed some water. After all, it was a hot day with mercury touching 44 degrees Celsius in our area. I sprinkled few drops of water. And waited.

I waited. 
And waited.
But no movement.
Which meant that the insect had lost its life probably due to intense heat.

I felt bad that I couldn't help. Unlike the last time, when Neeta and I were successful in rescuing an injured Bat- read the story .

I was inquisitive as to which family the insect belonged to.
Google 'Image search' did not yield a confirmatory answer. Further search led me to conclude that it was a bumble bee. Why?
It had black hair all over its body.
It was about 2 to 3 cms in size.
It had colourful wings.
It had multiple legs also hairy.

Bumble bees help in pollination. They are also reared for green house pollination. But sadly, their numbers like many other creatures from this planet, are diminishing. You may read the story Why Bumblebees are disappearing? - from The Hindu datelined from Washington.
There are companies like BioBee India which produce and supply Bumble Bees to the greenhouses.

Another picture of the bumble bee which is no more.

We would appreciate if any of the readers could further refine the identification and/or description. Did it really die of a heat stroke?

Postscript:  Yes, it is confirmed it was a bumble bee. Thanks Dr Farida Tampal, Director, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), AP State for your prompt feedback. Readers can see her comment in the comments section below.
It was further confirmed by Vijay and Jaya Uppal, nature lovers who live in Sainikpuri, Secunderabad that every summer bumble bees just drop dead in their garden due to heat and exhaustion.

Of course the other mystery about the gender of the bumble bee remains. Any experts who can enlighten us?

RIP the Bumble Bee.

   -     Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 22nd May 2015

PS: Incidentally, this is the 100th post from Ghumakkad on this blog. Thank you all for your continued readership.