I felt lucky to capture a shot of this black-and-white bee, if only from the back. It turned out to be a plasterer bee (family Colletidae).
This mostly solitary bee is often only active for a few weeks each year. The female gathers pollen in a ball, places an egg on it and hides it in a burrow that she "plasters" with a special secretion. The secretion dries like cellophane and makes the burrow waterproof. The young bees eat the pollen and stay in the burrow over the winter, emerging in the spring as adults. Kind of a boring life, but it works! And they pollinate flowers along the way.
Another bee cousin is the bumble bee:
Bumble bees build colonies, too, but the hives are smaller (sometimes just 50 bees or so) and not nearly as well-organized. Bumble bees can also sting but rarely do so. I was chasing this gal all over trying to get a good shot.
I took it in the garden of the man who's responsible for the plant collections at the Denver Botanic Gardens. His place overlooks Denver from the east (if it weren't cloudy, you could see the mountains) and is a great example of turning an awkward blank slate of a yard into a showpiece. I'm taking notes!
No way. I thought the pic was doctored! That is too cool! :)ReplyDelete
Thanks! Which pic did you think was doctored?ReplyDelete
The most I ever do is crop and sharpen, and sometimes bump up the saturation a little in iPhoto. I haven't figured out how to do anything in Photoshop yet except stitch groups of photos together and add text or arrows.
I thought the first picture was altered. Amazing, I had never heard of black and white bees. Love these bee posts!ReplyDelete
I never "heard" of B&W bees either, and I'm not sure that I would have thought about it much if it weren't for this enlightening post.ReplyDelete
Arresting photos. Thanks for this informative post.ReplyDelete
Bee life is so fascinating! I was hoping to learn more about bee life from the Secret Life of Bees but I was disappointed. (Good book, though!)ReplyDelete
Thanks, Steph, Claire, Pam, Gerry and JGH!ReplyDelete
It looked gray when I first saw it and I wondered if it was a sick bee. Happily, it stuck with that bunch of bachelor buttons long enough for me to run inside for my camera. It took me a bit of research to figure out what it was. There are hundred of varieties of bees.
I still haven't read "The Secret Life of Bees." But it's on my list, I swear.
Great post and photos. I'll be keeping my eyes open for black and white bees here too.ReplyDelete
Gaia, good luck! I've been looking for more, without luck. It really was random that I spotted that one.ReplyDelete