We’re iced in! This morning we woke to Tremblay Sound covered in ice as far as the eye could see. Because the weather is not cooperating, some of the bug lovers in camp have temporarily turned their focus from narwhals to one of the lesser known, but no less hardy, members of the Arctic tundra.
Bumblebees in the Arctic help the tundra to bloom every spring and summer. Too cold for bees, you ask? As soon as the sun comes out, the bees warm up by “buzzing” for some time – not unlike a miniature helicopter starting its engines. On sunny days like today, hundreds of polar bumble bees can be seen searching for nectar and pollinating Arctic wildflowers.
The biggest threat to the polar bumble bee is its larger cousin, Bombus hyperboreus. This larger bee kills the polar bee queen and takes over the colony, turning the workers into her slaves. Even the toughest little critters have many surprising challenges in the Arctic!