More bombus

Or would that be bombii?

(Click images for gallery.)


An amazing story

Yeah, it’s out of focus. I like it anyway, and it somehow seems to fit the story I just found. Here’s a direct link to the PDF of the article “A bee as pet – a bee psychologist’s perspective.” It includes a letter from a woman who had an extraordinary relationship with a wingless bumble bee queen, and the commentary of Lars Chittka of the Bee Sensory and Behavioural Ecology Lab at Queen Mary University of London.

Oh, and there’s more pictures with this article.

Bombus vosnesenskii

I had an encounter with some little friends the other day while photographing the crocuses. This one is a yellow-faced bumble bee, and was busy, busy, busy. She was mostly moving too fast for my macro, which has a very short depth of field. But I got a couple of decent pictures.


Doesn’t she look pettable?

Closeup of Black-tailed/orange-rumped bumble bee (Bombus melanopygus)

And here’s a hint of what’s to come when I finish getting the photos together: Bombus melanopygus was a lot slower, and I took a LOT of pictures of her.

The bandit

bumblebee on honeysuckle

Recently I read an Economist article on bandit bumblebees. These are bees that conduct “nectar robbery”—because they don’t have the long tongues that can reach into elongated flowers, they cut holes in the sides of the flowers and collect the nectar that way. (They’re considered robbers because this process doesn’t help pollinate the plants.) Apparently a recent study has shown that bees that do this are either right-or left-handed when it comes to which side the pollen is stolen from (really!), and that, even more surprisingly, the handedness is learned. Fascinating stuff.

And when we stopped to look at the honeysuckle today, well, there was the perfect demonstration. Though I must say I didn’t check to see which side they were cutting from. Or any very tiny safecracking tools.

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