Save Bees

A bumble bee queen sleeps in a flower

Bumble bee queen sheltering inside closing crocus

Originally posted in March 2010 on Enlightened Bugs (my photo website).

A closed flower is the perfect spot… a place to sleep, nectar to drink, pollen to enjoy… what could be better for a bee?

On March 1, the end of a nice sunny week filled with bees in crocuses, I saw a very large bumble bee slowly hauling itself from one crocus to another, clearly slowing down as the light faded and the chill in the air became more noticeable. After some half-hour of labored clambering, she settled in one particularly large, sturdy looking crocus.

As night drew closer, and the crocuses began to close, this bumble bee stayed within its flower as other bees, among them mining and honey bees, flew off home. By evening, all I could see was one beady, multi-faceted eye staring up out at me from the small hole in the flower where the petals meet when closed.

The next day brought rain, and lots of it. In fact, it continued to rain each day until March 4, and each morning and evening when I checked, there was still a beady eye to greet mine peering in (or at times a fuzzy bum!) March 4 brought a bit of sun, but was still in the low 50s (10-12°C). The crocuses did open slightly, but the bumble bee never left its flower, just remaining huddled, cold inside.

Crocuses opening in the bright spring sunMarch 5 brought similar weather, but slightly warmer, and the bumble bee bumbled actively on her crocus, still showing no signs of leaving, instead having the odd sip of nectar, dangling off the petals, then clambering back into the flower’s center again. As the crocuses began to close in the evening, the bumble bee waited for her crocus to close… but the day’s bumbling had taken its toll on one of the petals, which was bent towards the ground.

Knowing it would rain in the night, I gently nudged the petal back into shape, so that it could protect the bumble bee happily for one more night ☺️ The next day, after a cold night of rain, the sun came out and the bumble bee buzzed off in search of fairer crocuses across the patch… after spending five nights in one crocus!