Friday, October 1, 2010

Sleeping Bees

One evening last week, I went outside to gather some flowers from our overgrown, butterfly garden to bring inside. We had not had rain in a while along with record breaking high temperatures, and the plants were showing their weariness. I wanted to save a few before they all dried up. (Thankfully, we now have some cooler temperatures to give us a hint of autumn).

Did you know that bumblebees sleep on flowers during the night-- like little black and golden fairies? I counted and photographed at least 11 bees that I could see around the perimeter of the garden. I turned to the computer to do some research and discovered that male bumblebees indeed sleep on flowers -- especially late in the season when the temperatures begin to drop at night and when female bees refuse to let them back into their underground nests. Apparently, they are no longer needed for making baby bumblebees. Poor things. They attach themselves to flowers and hang out all night until the sun shines on their backs to warm them up for another day of pollen gathering. In our garden they preferred the lantana, flowering basil, and butterfly bush flowers for beds.

How could I live for almost 42 years and not know this?

Once inside, the bunch of flowers (lantana, zinnias, and some mysterious plant that the nursery told me was milkweed but that I have doubts about) quickly became the center of attention for curious cats. They smelled, rubbed, and chewed on the flowers until I moved the mason jar vase to higher ground. Those cats!

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