Summer knocked on my window’s ancient, swirly glass with a loud humming sound this morning. A bumblebee’s drone diverted my attention from the computer screen to the outdoors and the bright sunshine therein. A bee had settled on the string of plastic beads with which we raise and lower the insect screens in our windows.
I opened the window very slowly and quietly – which is silly since bees can’t perceive sound – just wide enough to stick the camera through it.
In the cladogram for corbiculated bees, bees with pollen baskets on their rear legs, the Bombini tribe branched off earlier than the Euglossini or orchid bees, while the stingless bees formed a branch that split off the Bombinis. If you don’t care for Hymenoptera taxonomy, nevermind these details. I have fun investigating such tidbits because there have been such tremendous advancements since I went to school trying to absorb fascinating minutiae like this.
And how do we know that this is a female bee? Well, male bees forage only for their own sustenance. They don’t contribute to the well-being of the hive community, largely because they get kicked out as soon as they emerge from their pupal state. Therefore only female worker bees store collected pollen in their corbiculae to bring home to the hive. And as one can see below, my visitor had baskets stockpiled with pollen!
As a matter of fact, it appeared that she had largely landed on those chains to rest somewhere convenient to groom stray pollen as she was very busy sweeping and brushing while hanging onto those plastic beads!
A little while later, I took a stroll through the garden to record the rapid advances in growth and development so far this Spring. It was invigorating to hear the buzzing of such a multitude of insects among the flowering plants.
In the afternoon, we enjoyed a Campari on the terrace – in shorts! The thermometer rose to an ambient temperature of 25ºC/77ºF today with dazzlingly bright sunshine and deep blue skies.
We do feel guilty as we take pleasure in this abundance of good fortune in the midst of a pandemic and a national lock-down. We are indeed very fortunate to be able to step outside and cherish the sights and sounds of nature all around us while we continue to enjoy good health. We can only hope for the same for our far-flung family and friends.
STAY HOME – STAY SAFE