• David Moore

Have you tried turning your Bumblebee off and back on again?

"Have you tried turning it off and back on again?"

It is a comedic trope applied to computer help and support.


The thing is, as I have mentioned before, it is [still] a valid way to solve a lot of problems. But I won't go into that again here.


Thing is, I didn't expect it to apply to Bumblebees.


The other day a large, cute bumblebee flew into my shed.


Where I live they are introduced and categorized as pests mainly.


But considering that, supposedly, all the other bees are dying anyway, I thought it best to save this bumblebee.


The part of the shed the BB had entered had no natural light and high ceilings.


It was flying at the lights and as much as I tried to coax it down, out and eventually onto the end of a soft mop, it refused to play ball.


So I decided that if I turned out the lights it would probably fly towards the entrance to the shed where natural light as creeping in.


But as soon as I turned out the lights the buzzing stopped and I heard a loud click.


It was clear the BB wasn't going to fly out this time so I turned the lights back on to see where it had gone.


The moment I turned the lights on it recommenced buzzing/flying and shot up off the floor back to the lights on the ceiling.


It was weird but I didn't think too much about it.


I decided that I would turn off the lights again. It made sense that it stopped flying in the dark. So I grabbed a torch and looked for it on the light fitting assuming that is where it had landed.


Nope.


I heard a loud click again after I turn the lights out and, with the torch, found the BB on the floor.


The clicks I was hearing was the BB hitting the floor as it fell from whatever height it was at when I turned off the lights, and, as it turns out, the Bumblebee as well.


This time I put a clear bowl over it so I could remove it safely.


I turned the lights back on to see it instantly fly to the top of the clear bowl. Hilarious!


I'd see Bumblebees get dopey as night descended. In our previous garden I'd see them land on their favourite bush and nod off as the day slipped away.


It makes sense, it is what we all do to some degree. I just never expected Bumblebees, or anything alive really, to just switch off with the light switch.


The Bumblebee was safely released. I was amused and happy.


Who would have thought you could turn your Bumblebee off and back on again to fix a problem?


David.

P.S. Here's some science about it I found:


https://jeb.biologists.org/content/218/9/1339

Research Article Effect of light intensity on flight control and temporal properties of photoreceptors in bumblebees Therese Reber, Antti Vähäkainu, Emily Baird, Matti Weckström, Eric Warrant, Marie Dacke Journal of Experimental Biology 2015 218: 1339-1346; doi: 10.1242/jeb.113886



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