. . . of bees
"Life is the flower for which love is the honey"
- Victor Hugo
I'm finally able to share some more of my fascination with bees...
I'm not sure when or how I became so fascinated with this aerodynamic wonder. Everything about them says little miracle to me and perhaps because they are such a highly organized society that operates in such a very intricate way or maybe because they are the only insect that produces food eaten by mankind.
I know a lot of people who are frightened by bees, and rightfully so if you are one of the unlucky ones who are allergic to them, but they are not aggressive by nature and won't sting unless provoked or protecting their hive from an intruder. I shot all these with my 40mm macro lens that requires you to be very very close to your subject and they have never been bothered by it. However, I would recommend NOT wearing a floral shirt of any kind while trying to get that close to them, just sayin' . . . they get a little confused!
I don't even know where to start, there are so many interesting things to share about the honey bee. I guess I could start out by giving kudos to the worker bees who are all female by the way, who do the majority of the work around the hive like, producing wax, making and cleaning the cells, feeding the larva and drones, and guarding the hive among other things, and when they reach 21 days old they get promoted to field bee and get to go out and gather pollen and nectar. The queen, well all she has to do is lay the eggs, and the drone who is male and stinger-less lives only to mate with the queen and then falls down dead...for real.
The bees wings beat at about 230 beats per second and they can fly about 15 miles per hour stopping by 50-100 flowers for pollen and nectar before taking it back to the hive. Their antennae are segmented and covered with sense cells which measure humidity and levels of carbon dioxide in the air.
Their compound eyes have thousands of tiny lenses and are covered with sensory hairs that detect wind speed. If you look really closely you can kind of see them in the photo above.
They actually have two pairs of wings which are hooked together, a stomach, a nectar pouch and a pollen basket which you can see above. This one happens to have been visiting flowers with purple pollen. Those back legs are wider at one spot with longer hairs that they comb the pollen through after mixing it with saliva and nectar.
All those feathery hairs that coat their body build up a static charge as they fly and when the bee lands on a flower the pollen can literally jump onto their body.
They go through a complete metamorphosis from egg, to larva which eventually pupates into a bee.
A worker bee will live for only 6 weeks in the summer months, but if they happen to one of the last broods in the fall they will live through the winter.
My hope is that the next time you see a bee, you might look at or think of them differently, as the miraculous creature that it is, with incredible mastery, that wasn't by mistake.
Every day they journey out, not in search of a destination, but on a mission for the survival of each other.
Can you imagine that . . . for just a moment?
And think about this, for just a moment, that as an insect that pollinates about one third of the crops we eat, when they set out on their journey everyday, their purpose isn't just for their own survival, but it was designed for ours as well.
Have a wonderful weekend my friends!!
P.S. - I would have had this done sooner today had I not found a green lynx spider I had to photograph! ha
P. S. S. - Bonnie has decided to put Photo Art Friday on hold until June, I will be waiting impatiently! ;)