Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bees That Sleep in Flowers

I was outside admiring the red Cholla cactus flowers, the rose of the desert as I call them.

There was a bee inside the flower, it came out and perched on the flower edge, seeming to look at me. It stayed there long enough for me to take many pictures.

Bee on Cholla cactus flower

After this bee flew away, I looked in the other flowers. The sun was setting and the Cholla flowers were starting to close. I saw something odd inside one of the closing flowers. After looking closely, I discovered the flower was full of bees! I counted five visible bees and most likely there are up to five more underneath those. The bees were collecting in the flower for the night.
Many bees here in the Sonoran Desert are solitary, very few of them live in hives. Often these solitary bees will congregate at night to hold in the heat. I've seen a few collecting on the undersides of leaves, but nothing like this. Here is a picture. I didn't want to disturb the bees too much so I only took this one photo.

Bees preparing to rest inside the flower as it closes for the evening

I went outside in the morning and the bees were gone...


I'm still figuring out how to identify bees...I know very little beyond being able to know a bee when I see it. What kind of bees sleep in Cholla flowers, have fuzzy hair around their face and are a very pale yellow, more of a cream color? I don't know, but I will learn.

1 comment:

pendantry said...

Cool. I've never heard of bees sleeping in flowers before. I've always thought they always 'went home' to the hive.

You learn something new every day :)