Friday, August 3, 2012

I just want to bee ... left alone

Newly emerged Bombus moderatus looking for a night's rest in a daisy
Bug Girl tells me that my idea of a post defending Spiderman's wrist-spinning abilities based on what we know about hox genes and what we don't know about radioactive spider venom would be a traffic fatality. Well, the Home Bug Garden has never been about high traffic, just musing about urban biodiversity and trying to stay sane in Zone 3, but maybe I'm getting too serious. Ergo, a new (and probably ephemeral) series for those of us who just want to bee left alone.
Some day maybe she'll be a queen, but it's a long time until next May
And who better to kick off the series, then our very own recent colonist Bombus moderatus (or is it cryptarum? Only the genes know for sure). This newly emerged adult female showed up the other night in the cool evening between storms looking for a place to sleep. It's nearing the end of summer in Zone 3 and the successful bumble bee colonies are producing mostly reproductives: males (drones) and females (next year's queens). A few workers continue their job of collecting pollen and nectar, but most of the bumble bees you see at flowers from now until frost will be drones. Now and then you may find a large and brightly coloured queen wannabe. She'll have to load up on carbos and find a place to outlast predators, parasites, and the long cold winter. If she survives until May, then she has a chance to found her own colony and be a queen, but right now she can only dream.
To sleep, perchance to dream ...

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