Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sleepy bee

My granddaughter brought me an armload of pink rhododendrons to decorate my kitchen table. Later in the evening, I found this bumblebee crawling around on the floor underneath. He must have come in with the flowers. Good thing Jess didn't notice, or she would have dumped the lot.

Love the mustache!

A bright orange tail.

A better look at the wings.

This is a bumblebee, possibly a red-tailed bumblebee, Bombus melanopygus. There is a fly, Merodon equestris, common locally, that looks very much like it, but the eyes are close together in the front of the head, and the antennae are short, barely there. The fly has one pair of wings; bees have two; here you can barely see the rear wings as a darker area underneath the front pair.

I have another of these bumblebees in a collection of different bees and bee mimics from two years ago, here. And more bee info, here.

The bee was lethargic; good for photography, but the lights and the action were cutting into his sleep time. When he started to wake up, I took him outside and left him in a flowerpot out of the rain. In the morning, he was gone.


  1. Isn't he delightful?! Didn't know you cut bring in rhodos! Well done.

  2. This is such a pretty little bee … seems sleepy and fuzzy enough to actually touch. And its see-through wings look like drawings I’ve seen of fairy wings.

  3. Fairy wings ... or stained glass windows - the wings are beautiful!

    I love his mustache. And he does indeed look a bit grumpy.

  4. Bumblebee and other "stinger" masks were often danced during the potlatch ceremony, and provided some comic relief during the ceremony (Hawthorn 1979: 208). Spectators who were "stung" by one of the bee's stingers were compensated for their suffering with gifts. The Origin of Table Manners page 66 Claude Levi Strauss (translated from french by John and Doreen Weightman) "The Coast Salish see a kind of parallelism between wild berries and hymenopterous insects, such as bees, wasps or hornets. When BLue-jay went to the land of the dead to visit his sister he received from her a basket which he opened too sppn with disastrous results. Buzzing hymenopterous insects (bees) flew out from it. had he been more paient, they would have changed into fir-cones and berrries" ,Adamson, T. Folk Tales of the Coast Salish in MAFLS Vol 27, New York 1934.

    Salish words for bee are: sîuÛç = wasp, bee, hornet and maàpç = bumble bee .


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