August 21, 2006

Busy as a bee - or not

We all think of bees as indefatigable little workers, slaving away non-stop. But every now and again there's a non-conformist.

Bee takes a snoozeLike this one.

This fat little bumblebee was sleeping on the job, on a warm mid-morning in August. Bees have been known to sleep right on the flowers when the evening temperatures drop below their functional level and resume in the morning when the sun warms them again, but this little lady had no such excuse. She snoozed for so long I had time to go back inside, find my misplaced camera and take several shots.

It's not the first time I've caught bees sleeping on the job. I suspect that they are more likely aging bees who just really need a break, but I have no way of verifying that. If any of you are beekeepers or entomologists, please fill me in.

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Blackswamp_Girl said...

I hope someone answers you, because I've wondered the same thing! Much easier to get a picture of them this way, though, isn't it? :)

Kasmira said...

I've seen quite a few lazing about on my passionflowers. They look dead, but, although I've never investigated, I suppose they are just napping.

Genie said...

I have no idea what would cause that, but what a terrific photo, and a highly interesting post! That's pretty fascinating...I've been busy taking photos of bees at work, but have been frustrated by how quickly they move -- it's hard to get a really good shot because they're so busy. Your shot is incredible just because I can see so much more detail than I've been getting! I hope someone answers you, too -- I'm really curious about the deal with the sleeping bees.

The Inadvertent Gardener

Janet said...

Yes, it's much easier! I don't have a zoom lens, so these ultra-close-ups are tricky. I have to use high resolution, the macro setting, and then crop the image. Insects are usually hard to capture because they're moving. This one was as still as if she were dead.

I once took one of these "nappers" and held her in my hand. They are really totally out of it.

LauraHinNJ said...

Nice pic - love bumblebees, especially sleepy docile ones.