Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Secret Life . . .


. . . 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!!

Love, Kim
XO

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! ;)



26 comments:

Tamar SB said...

Oh honey - we think alike!! I posted about how bees mean so much to me!!

Rosie Grey said...

Kim, these are fantastic! And I'm absolutely on your side :-))

Pride In Photos said...

Well my favorite part...dont wear a floral shirt...they get a little confused...you crack me up!! Thanks for the laughter my friend. Have a great weekend too.

She Who Carries Camera said...

Thank you for the insight on honey bees. So much nicer to read about them when it is accompanied by gorgeous images!

Southern Gal said...

My daughter and son-in-law have a new beehive this year. Maybe I'll be brave enough to try and photograph a few up close. You inspire me to it.

Kathryn said...

They are fascinating creatures. We have carpenter bees around here which are big and very curious. Love the detail in your images, you've captured them so beautifully.

Janet Bocciardi said...

Super super shots!!! Whenever I go in for a shot they buzz to the next flower. You've got some kind of magic in ya, too.

Kim Cunningham said...

I have always been a little flinchy when it comes to bees. Not sure why, but the possibility of being stung always keeps me on guard. However, photography has pushed me to get closer to them without flinching too much. I can't see a honey bee without thinking of you! They really are remarkable, and I wish that was conveyed to me as a child. I think I would be a little less skittish. I have always kept very calm about bugs, bees, snakes, and spiders around my kids to help them appreciate and not fear. My mom did not react that way, and it was important to me to keep my kids from being afraid of creation.

kathyinozarks said...

Just awesome!

Cheryl said...

What beautiful photos. Inspiring! My new favourite fragrance is from our local honey maker. It's the smell I want my granddaughter to remember me by.

Melissa Rich said...

They are fascinating creatures. I love to watch them. I have not had much luck capturing them with my camera though. Your images are amazing!!

tiarastantrums said...

glorious shots! BUT I have to be honest - I'm a bit afraid of bees!

Sherri B. said...

Absolutely fantastic, Kim...they truly are amazing little creatures. I must confess that I'm one of those who is scared of them...I've only been stung once, but I did have a reaction (as a child). Thank you for sharing!

Buckeroomama said...

Kim, first of all, these are stunning images!

Secondly, thank you for the info in your post. Such interesting tidbits! They certainly are fascinating creatures. I am going to show this post to my kids. I am sure they will ooh and aah over your pictures and the facts that you've listed, too. :)

Linda/patchwork said...

Wow, Kim. These are amazing photos.

Bees are really interesting (and, quick) little creatures. And, they do a lot of good for us.

Thanks for sharing....Have a great weekend.

Brenda said...

Simply amazing shots! My favorite is the last one - the wonder of the surrounding bokeh - and the amazing detail of those wings. Stunning!

Silvina Soave said...

Las capturas son ESPECTACULARES!!.Excelentes todas las fotos!Y la información muy interesante, he aprendido cosas que desconcía.
Un abrazo y feliz fin de semana!!

Anita Johnson said...

This was totally amazing, as are the bees! it snowed here last night, seems like the flowers AND bees will be a bit late this year!

Katherines Corner said...

gorgeous photos. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop. xo

Marilyn said...

KIm, thanks for this post. I learned something new. I never realized the worker bees were females. Wouldn't you know? LOL......of course the poor males mate and die. That's not a lot to look forward to.
Your photos are exquisite.
Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving your sweet comment.

Jeanne said...

Kim this is a great post and I love all of the amazing facts that I learned about bees. Nature is so incredible! Your shots are amazing too. I have tried some bee shots recently and have just not gotten what I was looking for yet. Eventually though!

Ross said...

Amazing shots! Such a great subject to shoot. Nature needs to be understood better and often our pictures tell the story. In your post you've not only shown us through pictures but given us some great info as well. So great!

patty said...

oh thank you for sharing at 1440, kim! your images are STUNNING! and that last one!? is that edited? are the bokeh created, or did you capture that with your lens? so so pretty!! love~
xo

ps: glad your son has gotten back to school-a sure sign he's doing better!

Kelly said...

KIM!!! holy heck woman! these are fantastic. When our fruit trees bloom, i can sit for hours with my head in the blooms and try and get that perfect bee shot. I've never been stung, maybe cause I talk to them and just let them "bee" hee hee no pun intended! You and I are definitely cut from the same cloth!

Cathy H. said...

Amazing photos! I was taking pictures of my wisteria bush this morning and was surrounded by bees. They are so amazing to watch and you're right they never bothered me!

Liz said...

I absolutely love this post, Kim!! I too am fascinated by bees. I am also one of the unlucky ones who is allergic. That doesn't stop me from "stalking" them with my camera as they go about their daily work.
Again, such beautiful images

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