Hot bodied bumblebees

Bumble bees have large and heavy bodies and flying can be a tremendous effort. In spring, when it's still cold, a queen bumblebee is only a few degrees warmer than the surrounding air and she needs to warm up before she can fly. A thermal imaging camera shows how she manages this. She puts her wings 'out of gear' so she can rev up the muscles without moving them. That raises the temperature in her thorax by 20 degrees centrigrade or more. With her temperature over 30 degrees, at last she has a chance of lifting off. She'll now be able to visit the spring flowers while it's still too cold for others to do so. Daffodil trumpets retain the heat well and are still warm long after their hot bodied visitors have left.

Release date: 22 Jun 2009

3 minutes


Role Contributor
Key talentDavid ATTENBOROUGH
Editor-in-chiefMike SALISBURY
ProducerMike SALISBURY
Camera OperatorTony ALLEN
Camera OperatorRod CLARKE
Camera OperatorMartin DOHRN
Camera OperatorAlastair MACEWEN
Camera OperatorMark PAYNE-GILL

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