video clip of flightless bumblebee   Flightless Bumblebee   

This is a story of a mishap of nature(genetic or an injury) which I noticed one day in May in my front yard.
I saw a bumblebee scurrying rapidly through the grass, buzzing and furiously trying to fly. I thought at first it was
just too cool for flight, but then realized it just could not fly because it was missing its large left overwing(bumblebees have four wings)
so that lift was impossible.

But to my amazement, this industrious (might I say brave?) bee went about gathering nectar on foot!
Luckily for it the yard had a lot of cinquefoil and wild strawberry flowers which grow very near the ground
so it could reach them easily. I followed this insect, undaunted by her handicap, for about an hour, taking video and still  photos.
At times, it would just stop and be motionless for about a minute or two. I am uncertain if it were merely resting, or reconnoitering
the landscape with antennae and/or eyes for the location of more flowers.

I don't know what its ultimate fate will be. If it has a brood that is far away, then it seems unlikely it will ever get back to it
and the larvae will perish. However,since bumblebees may nest in the ground, it is possible that it is close to home and might even raise a brood successfully,
walking to flowers instead of flying. As a biologist, I think this is unlikely, but you never know.

 Photos are below                                        






Note smaller left underwing

Left overwing is missing