From our sponsor Enlightened Bugs
Elise Fog of Enlightened Bugs provides all the photos on this site, as well as pouring her time into researching what’s happening to bees, in the hopes of inspiring everyone to help save bees. Here are a few of the bees she’s fallen in love with, along with curious facts showcased in her unique pollinator greeting card sets.
It’s been said that eyes are the windows into the soul. Have you ever gazed into a bee’s eyes? They’re multifaceted and surprisingly large, all the better to see with as they flit so fast from flower to flower. Long-horned bees have captivating pale blue eyes, and the females carry their pollen on specialized hairs on their hind legs, often giving the look of fuzzy pantaloons. Here, this blue-eyed bee is collecting pollen from thistles, an important source of protein for her young.
As their name suggests, leafcutter bees use their powerful jaws to cut circular holes out of leaves. They use these pieces to line their egg chambers in tunnels in wood. If you find perfectly circular holes cut from the edges of your garden plants (they especially love roses), consider yourself lucky! Leafcutter bees are important crop pollinators, and can be spotted by their brightly colored bums (a result of collecting pollen with specialized hairs on their undersides).
Have you ever come across a patch of sunny bare soil in springtime teeming with small flying insects? Some people call them “tickle bees”, because they fly at ankle level, and are very gentle. They dig tunnels in the ground to raise their young, often nesting in large communities numbering in the thousands. Mining bees are valuable orchard pollinators, and are among the first bees to fly in spring, sometimes even before the snow has melted or flowers have bloomed.
Honey bees lead complex social lives, and have amazing communication strategies. Inside the hive, worker bees feel the ‘pulse’ of the hive, gauging when there is a need for more provisions, knowing the status of the queen bee and the developing brood of young bees, and maintaining the hive at an optimal temperature of 95°F (35°C) throughout all seasons (by fanning their wings to cool it, or generating heat by flexing their flight muscles while decoupled from their wings).
Honey bees are the only types of bees that do not hibernate or die in winter (young bumble bee queens spend winter in hibernation, but most bees only survive winter in their young stages, as pupae). Honey bees represent just a small handful of around 25,000 different species of bees worldwide, and are not native to the Americas (brought originally by settlers, the Native Americans called them the “white mans’ flea”). They are among the few bees that live in hives (tens of thousands of bees strong) and make honey, which they do by evaporating nectar with their wings and then storing it in capped hexagonal cells (providing food stores for the colony).
Greeting card box sets
Interested in other curious facts about bees? Enlightened Bugs offers educational greeting card box sets featuring six different bees in each set, with all sorts of interesting information about each bee pictured. They make great gifts for bee enthusiasts, gardeners, and children who love bugs! And 10% of each sales goes directly to the Xerces Society to support pollinator conservation.