The Sleeping Bee

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Bees are a favorite subject of mine and I’m always on the lookout for a photo opportunity.  I make it a practice  to look closely at flowers in order to see whether they are being visited by bees or other pollinating insects.  The other day I encountered a globe mallow plant while I was out for a walk.  I examined the flowers and found a small bee curled up inside one of the blooms.  The bee was a member of the genus Melissodes (see my post the other day about Long-horned Bees) and she was lying on her side, immobile, at the bottom of the flower.

I watched the bee for a couple of minutes and she didn’t budge.  What was going on?  It occurred to me that she might be taking a nap.  Bees do sleep and there are many reports of  bees napping on plants or in flowers.  My bee lay there, apparently in deep sleep.  I set up my camera and flash and began photographing her.  It was only after I had fired my flash a dozen times or so that the bee stirred.  She slowly roused herself and stared upward, as if to inquire what was causing all of those flashes of light.

After another minute or so, she flew off.  I walked away from the flower and began examining other plants.  But, after about five minutes I returned to the original plant and, to my surprise, discovered that the bee had returned to “her” flower and was again napping.  She obviously thought that the flower made for a soft and secure bed.

Images made with a Canon 5DS-R, 180mm f3.5L Macro Lens, assisted by Canon 600EX-RT speedlite and stabilized by monopod, M setting, ISO 160, f16 @ 1/160.

One response to “The Sleeping Bee”

  1. Liesl Kii says :

    A great story straight out of nature! Interesting that bees sleep and that you caught it on “film” so to speak!

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