Incredible, intimate portraits of bees.
While Jean and I no longer attend meetings of the Southern Oregon Beekeepers Association, the meetings are a little too far away for us, I still subscribe to their email updates. Thus that’s how I was informed of a most incredible set of photographs on the National Geographic website. Here’s how the article opens:
Researchers take advantage of photography technology developed by the U.S. Army to capture beautiful portraits of bees native to North America.
Text by Jane J. Lee
Photography by Sam Droege, USGS
Bees are the workhorses of the insect world. By transferring pollen from one plant to another, they ensure the next generation of the fruits, nuts, vegetables, and wildflowers we so enjoy.
There are 4,000 species of North American bees living north of Mexico, says Sam Droege, head of the bee inventory and monitoring program at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
Only 40 of them are introduced species, including the European honeybee. (See “Pictures: Colored Honey Made by Candy-Eating French Bees.”)
Most of the natives are overlooked because “a lot of them are super tiny,” Droege says. “The bulk of the bees in the area are about half the size of a honeybee.”
The native species also go unnoticed because they don’t sting, he adds. They quietly go about their business gathering pollen from flowers in gardens, near sand dunes, or on the edges of parks.
The bee pictured above is a species of carpenter bee from the Dominican Republic known as Xylocopa mordax. It nests in wood or yucca stems, and is closely related to the U.S. species that chews through the wood in backyard decks.
Trust me when I say that to view these images, and more, in their breathtaking beauty you need to go here and revel in what you see and read. Plus, in the text above I didn’t include the many links that are in the Nat Geo site’s version – so go there!
The natural world is so deserving of man’s care and protection.