Just a Bumble on a Sunflower

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Bumblebee (Bombus something?) on a Volunteer Sunflower

Mercifully short post today. It’s a dirty-faced bumblebee on a volunteer sunflower. I never know where the flowers are going to come up, but they’re a welcome addition to our gardens in the late summer. And the bees and other pollinators love them.

CANCELLED – Palisade (Colorado) International Honeybee Festival – Mark the Date! – April 18, 2020

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Honeybee on Cone Flower (Echinacea) – Taken at Ogden (UT) Botanical Gardens 

I’ll be in Colorado on Saturday, the 18th of April, 2020 for the 12th Annual Palisade International Honeybee Festival. You can learn more about it on their website: http://palisadehoneybeefest.org/

They also have a FaceBook page: https://www.facebook.com/Palisade.International.Honeybee.Festival/

Looks to be an educational, fun, edifying event. A great way to spend a Saturday. It’s free to attend and will go all day. There will be live music, art, crafts, and other goods for sale – as well as a variety of food from local restaurants and other vendors.

I’ll have a booth there displaying and selling some of my better photographs – mostly of bees. In addition to the traditional matted and framed photographs, I’ll have prints on metal, canvas, and acrylic. I hope you find some space on your wall for a photograph or two… (Note: just picked up my first prints on acrylic, metal, and canvas. Wow.)

Jean Tally, the Volunteer Coordinator of the honeybee festival, has been incredibly helpful to me as I prepare for this event. After years (don’t ask how many) of shooting, this will be my first foray into sharing my stuff. With Jean at the helm, it’s a lock that it will be well-run and worthwhile.

Also, while you’re in the area, check out the Blue Pig Gallery ( 101 West 3rd Street there in Palisade, CO). They’ve got some wonderful – no, stunning – art there from local artists. Worth a stop for sure. Kay Crane, the gallery director, has been wonderfully generous to me with both her time and advice. Have a look. And on the evening of the 17th (the Friday before), the Blue Pig Gallery will be hosting a kick-off reception.

One of the photographs I’ll have to offer there is today’s bee of the day. It’s one of my favorites and it looks really nice printed. It’s a Honeybee on Cone Flower (Echinacea) that I shot last July at the Ogden (UT) Botanical Gardens. (And that’s worth a look if you’re ever in Ogden. They do a really neat job there.)

Hope to see you in Colorado!

From the Family Megachilidae

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Megachilidae – unsure of genus/species – on a Sempervivum bud

I’m not much of a taxonomist yet. Just a guy with some cameras. But I suspect I’ll get better with that over time. This one is some kind of Megachilidae for sure – unsure of genus/species. I’m pretty certain this little one is female (check out her left rear-most leg and notice the corbiculae – the pollen basket. Males don’t have those.). She’s on a Sempervivum (commonly known as Hens and Chicks) bud. Yep, the semps bloom. And they can be beautiful.

This particular bee is really territorial – downright ornery. I cannot count the number of times I’ve been lining up a shot of one bee or another on some blossom and one of these guys has bombed, full speed, into my intended subject. And not to be indelicate (cover the kids’ eyes, please), but the males of this species are, um, pretty adept at non-consensual birds-and-bees stuff – both on an intra- and inter-species level.

Kevin Vaughn has written a very worthwhile book on Hens and Chicks. It’s really accessible and is a good, instructive read if you’re interested in these amazing plants: Sempervivum: A Gardener’s Perspective of the Not-So-Humble Hens-and-Chicks (That’s an amazon link, but any bookseller can order it for you.) They’re really neat little plants and over time you’ll see a number of them in my photographs here.

Bonus!

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Monarch on a Rocky Mountain or Meadow Blazing Star (Liatris ligulistylis)

This site is about bees. But now and then, I’ll post a bonus pic of something else interesting. And today, it’s a Monarch on a Liatris.

It’s a fantastic plant for attracting pollinators of all kinds. Here in the Rockies, it blooms like mad all through August and is often teeming – buzzing – flapping – with life. Interestingly, the pollen isn’t purple, but it’s white. Sometime in the future, I’ll post pics of native bees, honeybees, bumbles, pollinating wasps, as well as other butterflies enjoying the Liatris. Keep watching. And plant one for yourself!