Bees In the Garden: Watch And Be Amazed
Considering there are over 20,000 species on earth (800 in Canada), it is forgivable if one cannot identify every type of bee that visits the home garden. During peak months, I notice at least a dozen different ones in my garden. And occasionally I see some out and about on a warm winter’s day, hoping to find something to forage in the snow.
Of everything that lives in my garden, bee have got to be the most interesting. Bees, like any living creature, have natural predators (grasshoppers, birds…) and vulnerabilities to disease (funguses…) and in recent years we have unprecedented numbers of colony collapses (premature bee deaths).
It’s a difficult time for this essential and intriguing insect. These are some of my favourite snapshots of bees from my garden. I say ‘snapshots’ because they’re taken with a point and shoot camera, and often in a hurry when I see something new or wonderful.
Gallery of Spectacular Bees
Have you ever seen a Leafcutter bee? They nibble off pieces of leaves, roll them up, and then fly them to a designated location where they create cells. In this case the bee was placing the leaves inside a garden trellis pipe. The funny thing was, I had never seen a bee like this before and, when it caught my eye outside the kitchen window, it looked like it was carrying little pieces of sausage! It was complete luck that I got this shot: that bee was fast! Bees forage for nectar and pollen, depending on their needs. Their tongues (proboscis) are specialized to retrieve nectar from deep inside flowers. Some bees have ‘pollen baskets’ which are little pockets where they can place and carry the pollen. This guy (below) is filling his up nicely: Bees are closely related to both wasps and ants. It’s amazing how many variations in size, shape, markings, and behaviour there are. This one (below) had perfectly clear wings: Very few of the world’s 20,000 species have been studied and it’s suspected that there are many more types we have not identified. I grew up with a bad allergy to both bee stings and mosquito bites. Despite this, I never developed a fear of bees. Even as a child I could see that they are not really aggressive or threatening. They have very specific tasks to complete, and it’s only when something blocks that mission that they may defend themselves. And even then, not all bees can sting.
If you want to fall in love with the genius of bees, find a book or podcast on bee communication. Brilliant!
While it’s not true that bumble bees defy the laws of physics, it is notable many bees have a wing speed of 230 flaps per second. <-Wow! This next one is officially the biggest bee I’ve ever seen:
But Wait! There’s More…
Natural Pest Control By Master Gardeners Nine Natural Garden Pest & Problem Remedies