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.

Finally! Some Southern Chinese Honey Bees!!!

22 08 2014

It has been ages since I posted here on Bees Alive! and I sincerely apologize for that. Part of the problem is that I relocated to Southern China once again, and as with all of my experiences in this part of the country, I have a hard time finding bees. I’m not sure why. There are tons of other flying lovelies – wasps galore, dragon flies, butterflies, moths, argh – mosquitoes. But bees? Two summers in Hainan and a year in Guangzhou yielded not a single sighting. It is a sad state of affairs, alas.

But then! A few months ago. I was, for some reason, looking out the sliding glass door leading on to my balcony, and my eyes detected action. There is a very tall tree growing beside my balcony, a few of the branches of which overhang. The tree was flowering (I’m not sure what kind of tree it is yet, but after some investigation and once I figure it out, I’ll update the post), and it had managed to attract some friends of the winged variety. I grabbed my camera, and popped outside for a closer look.

Honey bees!!! As well as some wasps and other critters. Unfortunately, the flowers are small, and when that happens, bees move frequently and quickly instead of staying for a photo opportunity. But I managed to get a few average shots which I’ve included below. My delay in posting has been the result of losing my camera cord as well as access to an SD card reader, but I’m equipped once more.

honey bee in guangzhou, china


Notice the half-full pollen sacs in this next photo. Yes, I have a soft spot for pollen sacs…

pollen sac on southern Chinese honey bee


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

Pittosporum and Honeybee in Nanjing, China

29 04 2013

Let’s celebrate. Bee season is off to a running start in central China, and I caught a few photos today. I’ve identified one of the flowering bushes so far (this is a Pittosporum), so I’ll start by posting two photos of the plant, one with a honeybee deeply engrossed.

Pittosporum and Honeybee - Nanjing China - April 28 2013

Pittosporum - Nanjing China - April 28 2013

Carpenter Bees in Alabama

1 04 2013

Tcarpenter bee drawinghanks to a fellow blogger, I have some beautiful, new photos of carpenter bees from Montgomery, Alabama. Carpenter bees and bumbles are often mistaken for one another. The major difference between the two is that the former have a relatively hairless abdomen, while the latter is fuzzy all over.

Chinese Magnolias

18 03 2013

It’s spring. Flowers are popping up everywhere. The all-important Chinese plum blossom season has come and gone. Now, the magnolia trees outside my housing complex have blossomed, and I was able to get out there myself today and photograph.

After doing a little research, there are what I believe to be two different species of native magnolia trees here. One (see the white blooms) is the Magnolia denudata (玉蘭 – yù lán – literally ‘jade orchid’), also called the Yulan magnolia – a symbol of purity. The other (purple blossoms) is the Magnolia liliiflora species (木兰 – mù lán – literally ‘tree orchid’), also called the Mulan magnolia.

Enjoy these beauties below.


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