Honeybee of a Different Color

Again on the Salvia. But this one is more sliver/grey than the golden of those in the hives. There are some darker ones around, too – I think they’re Russian. But there’s quite a variation in color in the honeybees that I see. Love the detail on this one – and it’s nearly full-frame. Got really close. The light is a little off for the flowers, but the bee looks great. And really good look at her eye(s).

Another sting yesterday. That makes four for the year. And only one in the several years previously. Not sure what the difference is. Was only trying to fill the birdbath for them to drink out of -maybe the flood threatened? Unfun, whatever the case. Hit my right thumb and my hand is swollen and angry. Ugh.

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Maybe a Sweat Bee Lost in a Sunflower

This is one of the tiny, tiny ones. Not the smallest I’ve shot, but really tiny. You can see two of the three ocelli on the top of her head pretty clearly…and how filthy she’s gotten in the sunflower.

These are pretty quick – hard to shoot. And I seldom get a very clear shot. I’m pretty happy with this one, though. Cannot get over the complexity. And she’s showing us a bit of beeneck, too. That delights me.

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The Old Hairy Eyeball

Honeybee on an Aster

Well, almost a hairy eyeball. But more at: hair between parts of the eye. But first…five eyes total. Three simple ones on the top of the head (called ocelli). And then two compound ones on either side of the head. Although you cannot see the simple ones in this photograph, they’re pretty clear in the shot from Feb. 3.

The compound eyes are made of an array of lenses called ommatidia. And there is specialized hair between those lenses. Some say that the hair between the lenses detects wind direction and speed – which is apparently useful for navigation. Citation needed, I think. Might be a myth. And they sure have a lot of other hair elsewhere… A team at Georgia Tech made the case that the hair keeps pollen out of the eyes. Or, better, allows for collecting and then removing the pollen. That makes more sense to me. And also fits with what I’ve observed (pollen mess/cleaning/grooming). Stay tuned for some shots of filthy, filthy bees.

Here’s the eye in that pic at 100 percent. I won’t often break out a photo, but this was too interesting not to.

Not quite a “hairy eyeball”. But hair, nonetheless, at the intersections of the hexagonal ommatidia.

This one is on an aster. Here in the foothills of the Rockies, asters begin to bloom in late summer and continue until it freezes hard. They’re often one of the last plants making new blossoms as the season winds down. And the bees just love them. Especially the honeybees – as well as some of the natives. They’re a great late-season flower for pollinators.

Notice that she’d gotten into something else before. That larger pollen on her head and back. Looks like maybe a Rose of Sharon or a Winecup?

Parenthetically, I just printed this shot on acrylic at 16″ x 20″. In a word, stunning! Not typical wall art, I know, but wow. It really pops. She’s got gorgeous eyes!

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