Bee butts

13 Jul

Everyday, I walk past a neighbor’s zinnia bed. It’s a little past the halfway mark on homeward leg of the journey. A rock wall surrounds the bed and Richard likes to stop and sniff the stones, eager to read the messages of his people. While he sniffs, I lean in, looking for bumble bees.

I have developed a fascination with bumble bees. One day, I noticed two bumble bees on the butterfly bush out my back door. Butterfly bushes are considered invasive species in Oregon and are very hard to kill, but the attract a variety of pollinators, including bumble bees.

Whenever I see a bee I lean in close. In college, a friend and I took a beekeeping class and set up a hive, which we later gave to a local beekeeper, as we moved on after graduation. I learned to be calm and gentle around bees and so I lean in when I see bees.

The butterfly bush hosted several bumble bees that day. I leaned in close and noticed that although they looked alike from a distance, the two bumble bees I leaned into, were very different. You think you know something and then you notice something and your world is rocked. This observation rocked my world. Not only were their stripes different, one of the bees had orange, in addition to yellow and black on its body. I did a little research and discovered the Pacific Northwest Bumble Bee Atlas.

I had no idea that there was such variety. I have become an obsessed observer. Whenever Richard stops to sniff, I scan for bee butts, trying to see the colors and patterns.

5 Responses to “Bee butts”

  1. arjeha July 13, 2021 at 7:18 am #

    Who knew? Having been stung once too often, my fault I know, I will say that I am not a big fan of bees and steer clear whenever I see one. I never knew that there were certain varieties of bees were found in particular areas.

  2. Fran Haley July 13, 2021 at 7:40 am #

    So fascinating, the diversity of bumblebees as well as the chance to observe them so closely, going about their beezi-ness, lol. Captivating post!

  3. Lisa Corbett July 13, 2021 at 11:21 am #

    In the spring, when we first went back online, my students wanted to do an inquiry project about bees. That’s when I first learned about all the different bee varieties. I thought there were only 2 or 3! I love this graphic you have included!

  4. Alice July 13, 2021 at 5:10 pm #

    I’ve learned something new, thank you! What an interesting bit of information. My son has become interested in bees, but I’m not sure how far his interest will take him. Note to self: don’t freak out around bees and stay calm.

  5. jcareyreads July 20, 2021 at 7:58 am #

    Love this leaning into the bee. It’s amazing what we see when we lean in. I’ll be taking a closer look now too. Thanks for the invitation.

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