Bumbles Pollinating a Massive Cucumber Crop

10 09 2014

I find it really difficult to identify bees, and I’m sure I’ve complained before about poor internet resources/guides to identifying bees. I did spend some time looking around, but nothing conclusive has come from my search.

Anyhow, I’ve got a collection of recent photos taken in southern Quebec of some bumblebees going nuts over a massive cucumber crop. You’ll notice from the differences in pattern, that there are two different species present. I believe the one in the bottom left photo is the odd one out. With the rest, note the distinctive black circle in the center of the bee’s thorax, the stripe of black at the top of the abdomen, and the fact that the edging of the final yellow stripe on the abdomen isn’t straight, but dimples up in the centre. Black and yellow only, this bee is black-bummed.





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








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