Ants Memorialize Dead Bumblebee With Flower Petals In Viral Video

While the world has been watching its most important pollinators disappear over the last few decades, a colony of ants has taken action in a way humans never could.

In a video that soon went viral after it was first posted shows the ants memorializing a dead bumblebee with funereal offerings of flower petals.

Ants place flower petals around the body of a dead bumblebee.
Source: YouTube/Nicole Webinger
Ants place flower petals around the body of a dead bumblebee.

Nicole Webinger’s original Facebook post has now been seen more than 1 million times. Recorded outside of Webinger’s place of employment in Stillwater, Minn., the video was titled “Bumblebee Funeral,” though many who commented on the post offered different theories as to why the ants were behaving this way.

One of the prevailing theories was outlined by Apost. The commenter posits that the wall of rose petals is the ants’ way of hiding their prize from others, while serving as a marker to help them relocate the bee after returning with enough help to carry it home.

ants are known to surround their food and other findings with rocks or plants to hide them from other ant colonies.
Source: Pexels
ants are known to surround their food and other findings with rocks or plants to hide them from other ant colonies.

Another comment suggested, as learned on Ants Canada, that the initial title might not be far off from the truth. Both ants and bees release similar similar pheromones when they die. And ants typically bury their dead far from their nests.

Perhaps it was a bumblebee funeral, after all.

Is this truly a bumblebee funeral?
Source: YouTube/Nicole Webinger
Is this truly a bumblebee funeral?

According to Maine Bumble Bee Atlas, “The clip appears to depict ants paying their respects to a deceased bumble bee by laying flower petals around her. I was unable to find a definitive answer as to what is exactly happening, but it most likely has to do with how ants behave around food items.

Ants and bees give off similar pheromones when they die.
Source: Pexels
Ants and bees give off similar pheromones when they die.

“Perhaps the behavior is to hide the item from other potential scavengers, but the most compelling one I came across while researching is that someone (human) sprinkled the petals over the bee and the ants are merely pushing them around to get at their food (reddit user ucosmos_jm).

Watch the video below and decide for yourself.

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