Iceland’s White-Tailed Bumblebee

3 08 2013

Move over gift-store tchotchkes, there’s a better travel souvenir in town. Well, at least when it comes to me.

Photos of bees from places I’ve never visited nor will visit in the near future.

And that’s just what friend and fellow blogger from Uncategorized Days did. Just back from an adventure-filled hiking excursion in Iceland, she sent me a batch of gorgeous bumble photos :)

Taken in two different locations, photos showcase Bombus lucorum – the white-tailed bumblebee. The photos taken of bees in the moss campion (Silene acaulis) were shot at the Krýsuvík geothermal area in the Reykjanes Peninsula. The photos including bees in the dandelions were taken at the Þórsmörk Nature Reserve in the Central Highlands.

Iceland is home to three different species of bumblebee, including B. lucorum.

Many thanks!

Summertime Bombus hortorum in the UK

15 07 2013

Thank you to a regular contributor for the following lovely photos of an industrious Bombus hortorum.

Bombus hortorum - UK July 3rd 2013

Bombus hortorum - UK July 3rd 2013

Bombus hortorum - UK July 3rd 2013

Bombus hortorum - UK July 3rd 2013

Enjoying Lavender in Norfolk

15 01 2013

Taken out in the beautiful lavender fields of Norfolk, East Anglia, UK, this is a guest contribution by the folks at the up-and-coming Bee Plan. Their site is in the works, but their mission is clear – they are a non-profit supporting a programme of bee-friendly planting in east London. Looking forward to seeing them (and the bees) in action in the near future :)

Bee - Norfolk Lavender

Why Do Bees Just ‘Hang Out’?

9 10 2012

Bees are supposed to be busy. Always on the move. Foraging, scouting, collecting, helping the hive thrive. But sometimes, you see a bee just sort of hanging out. Not moving. Not doing much of anything.

There may be a few reasons for this. First, it might be too cold. Bees’ flight muscles need to be held at specific temperatures in order to work properly. When it gets too cold (especially when it is too cold for the insect to shiver and thus raise muscle temperatures), they are grounded.

Another reason might be that the bee is old and tired. This might especially be the case if you notice ragged wings on the bee and it is later in the season.

It could also be possible that the bee (especially males) has forgotten to fuel up by drinking nectar during all of its flying around. No fuel means no energy.

I had a photo submission from 100twenty out in Southern Quebec. A quiet bumble was found hanging off the wild aster in Gatineau Park. One thing about grounded bees – they make for excellent photo opportunities ;)

Dahlia coccinea Visitor

26 08 2012

This incredibly hairy bumble was spotted in downtown Vancouver, BC among the dahlia.

Dahlia coccinea and bumble bee visitor

Rosemary’s Bumble

15 08 2012

While visiting the Davie Village Community Garden in downtown Vancouver, BC, I caught up on some bumblebee action in the rosemary patch. I haven’t identified the bee as she was moving too quickly for my terrible little camera to capture adequately. Fuzzy critter, fuzzy photo. Appropriate?

Purple Rosemary Flower - Davie Village Community Gardens - Vancouver BC - August 2012

Bumblebee on a Purple Rosemary Flower - Davie Village Community Gardens - Vancouver BC - August 2012

Covered in Pollen: Buzzing in the Hibiscus syriacus

12 08 2012

After a dry spell in bee land – the result of seeing bees without a camera in hand, or having a camera, but uncooperative bees – I hit the jackpot yesterday on a busy Saturday in downtown Vancouver, Canada.

Downtown? Yes! In fact, I often have excellent luck with bees in heavily urbanized areas (for example, spectacular luck in Los Angeles: see Full Pollen Sacs on a Los Angeles Bee; and downtown Ottawa, Canada: see Bombus impatiens in Downtown Ottawa). So, why not Yaletown in the downtown Vancouver core???

Hibiscus Syriacus by Eric KounceI will be posting a few series of bee photos, starting with this one, that mark a brief visit to Vancouver. I am heading back to southern China in a week’s time. Leaving the Western honeybee behind and returning (for the third time) to the Eastern honeybee. I do have posts and photos about bees and flowers in China – take a look at Flower Photos and Photos of Insects to see the growing, permanent collection on this site.

Anyhow, in this post, I’m looking at visitors to the lovely Hibiscus syriacus or the Rose of Sharon. A gorgeous white flower with a dramatic spray of crimson radiating from its centre. These flowers are literally dripping (if pollen can drip…) pollen, and  every one of the many species of bee visiting these flowers ended up absolutely covered within seconds of landing.

I have several photos below. Clicking these already large photos will give you an even larger one – please feel free to download and use (giving a credit to Bees Alive! – except for the full flower photo – would be excellent ;) ). Note, the first photo has both a honeybee and a Bombus vosnesenskii visiting the same flower.

Bombus vosnesenskii and Western honeybee visiting an Hibiscus syriacus in downtown Vancouver - August 2012

Bombus vosnesenskii visiting an Hibiscus syriacus in downtown Vancouver - August 2012

A western honeybee lightly covered in pollen from an Hibiscus syriacus in downtown Vancouver - Yaletown - British Columbia Canada - August 2012

A western honeybee in profile lightly covered in pollen from an Hibiscus syriacus in downtown Vancouver - Yaletown - British Columbia Canada - August 2012

An unidentified hairy yellow bumblebee on an Hibiscus syriacus in downtown Vancouver - Yaletown - British Columbia Canada - August 2012

Bumblebee completely covered in pollen on an Hibiscus syriacus in downtown Vancouver - Yaletown - British Columbia Canada - August 2012

Tomato Plants Love Bumble Bees

1 08 2012

And there is evidence of that statement below, thanks to another 100twenty contribution from eastern central Canada! (click for high-rez, as per usual).

July 2012 - Bumble bees love tomato plants - Southern Quebec

July 2012 - Bumble bees love tomato plants - Southern Quebec

Bumble Hovering over Birdsfoot Trefoil

29 07 2012

Photographically capturing a bumble in flight, especially when you’re not hunkered down waiting for one, is a major accomplishment. Thanks to this guest photo contributor for being in the right place at the right time and for having a quick trigger finger ;)

Bumble hovering over the Birdsfoot trefoil in Ottawa, Ontario

Bombus impatiens in the Onion Flowers

23 07 2012

Submitted by 100twenty from Southern Quebec. A Bombus impatiens hanging out in the onion flowers.

Bombus impatiens - July 2012 - southern Quebec

Bombus impatiens - July 2012 - Southern Quebec

Gorgeous Pale Orange Bumble in Quebec

8 07 2012

Bombus sylvicola and ternarius by Yet more identification issues. I spotted a beautiful pale orange striped bumble bee in Southern Quebec recently. According to bumblebee dot org, it could be one of two North American bumbles  (see left). Bombus sylvicola or Bombus ternarius. They look to be a much brighter orange.

The trouble with bee guides that rely upon sketches rather than actual photographs is that the drawings seldom look much like reality.

Enjoy my photos below!

Bombus sylvicola - Southern Quebec - June 20

Bombus sylvicola - Southern Quebec - June 20

Bombus sylvicola - Southern Quebec - June 20

Bombus sylvicola - Southern Quebec - June 20

Chives: Good for Humans, Bumbles, Honeybees & Swallowtails

24 06 2012

If you have some space in your garden and want to plant something that will benefit everyone (or at least many), then pick chives. They are quite pretty when they flower, humans can eat both the stem and the flowers, and the flowers will attract several different kinds of bee as well as butterflies. I’ve done two different posts on chives already – one on human use (on my other blog: The Good Villager), and one guest photo contribution of a bumblebee visitation in southern Ontario. See the links below for these posts and after that, some further photos from where I currently am in southern Quebec.

Honeybee on Chive Flower - southern Quebec - June 2012

Honey Bee on Chive Flower - southern Quebec - June 2012

Bumblebee on Chive Flower - southern Quebec -June 2012

Swallowtail Butterfly on Chive Flower - southern Quebec - June 2012

Injured Bumble in Victoria, BC

16 06 2012

bombus rufocinctus - Heinrich 1979Another wonderful guest contribution, although a) I am very amateur in my attempts at identification, and b) this poor bumble bee was injured (the right foreleg appears to be missing a segment).

The closest I can get to naming this bee is Bombus rufocinctus, which is found, among other places, in British Columbia. I am, of course, open to corrections or pointers to another possibility.

Top View of Injured Bombus rufocintus - Victoria BC

Front View of Injured Bombus rufocintus - Victoria BC

Flowering Chives Attract Bumble Bees

13 06 2012

A guest contribution! Thank you! This photo was taken in southwestern Ontario among the flowering chives. It’s that time of year…

Mystery Brown Bumble Bee

4 06 2012
Bombus humilis - Brown-Banded Carder Bee

Bombus humilis – Brown-Banded Carder Bee

At least it looks like a bumble bee with its round fuzzy body. It is mostly brown, a gingery-tan colour. Beautiful, actually. The problem I’m having is in identifying it.

It was spotted in the phlox in Southern Quebec. the closest species I’ve been able to find thus far is Bombus humilis – the Brown-Banded Carder bee (see drawing to the left) – but the problem is that it is only found in Southern England and is rather endangered. Hmmm.

I’m including two photos below of the mystery bee frolicking in the phlox (indicating a medium- to long-tongued bee) and would LOVE any suggestions.

Mystery Brown Insect in Quebec

Mystery Brown Insect in Quebec in the Phlox

Bombus impatiens in Downtown Ottawa

25 05 2012

Two not-too-bad shots of a Bombus impatiens frolicking in the apple blossoms in Downtown Ottawa, Canada.

Bombus impatiens among the apple blossoms in downtown Ottawa

Bombus impatiens on the Rideau Centre Roof in Ottawa

Bombus huntii Near Ottawa

14 04 2012

I swear the bees can hear me. In the middle of the morning today, as a friend and I sat outside at her woodsy home in Southern Quebec near Ottawa, I commented on the various things blooming in the early Spring warmth. I also commented that what was missing was the pleasant buzz of bees. I had been spoiled on a recent trip down to California where I saw plenty of honey bee action in L.A. It is a wee bit colder up here in Canada, but immediately after making my comment, my friend noticed some movement in her line of newly-bloomed crocuses. I hurried over to take a look and indeed, it was a lone bumble bee. She was lingering over individual flowers, so I took a chance and ran indoors to get my crappy camera. I was in luck as I made my return. Even luckier was the fact that the two photos I managed to take both turned out and I present them below. Upon some investigation, I think this is a Bombus huntii. The North American identification diagrams might indicate other possibilities, especially as huntii didn’t seem to bee a species that shows up in my locality, but I ran across a couple of excellent photos that look very much like what I saw. Enjoy!

Bombus huntii Southern Quebec

Bombus huntii Southern Quebec


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