First Bees of 2010!

Yesterday, I went through the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, where things are still pretty quiet plant and arthropod-wise. There were, however and hallelujah, honey bees to be found in the crocuses. Apis mellifera is in the house!  These are the first bees I’ve seen this year. Nothing says “spring has begun” to me more than this. And some hive somewhere has made it through the winter, no small triumph in this day and age.
Note the pollen sticking to these worker bees. The hair on their bodies is statically charged, which helps the pollen attach. And when you see them bee-butt up in a tight flower bud, you can understand why they get doused with pollen.  Note also the delicate-looking but strong wings: each wing is actually made up of two parts that merge together for flight.
You can also see big gobs of pollen on their rear legs. They groom off the protein-rich pollen and pack it around structures called pollen baskets or corbicula. It’s “glued” together with bee spit. I always think the filled baskets — the color depends on the type of flower the bees are working — look like those water wings kids use in pools.
New York City seems poised to make beekeeping legal soon. It has been against the law, a violation of the health code, since the  reign of “nasty man” Rudy Giuliani (animal-haters are pretty much always pricks, aren’t they?), although plenty of people have ignored this inane law for the betterment of our environment.

And speaking of better for the environment, Gerry, one of my fellow Hymenoptera-philes, has some words, images, and bee-in links about her first bees of the year, so click over for a waggle-dance.

1 Response to “First Bees of 2010!”

  1. 1 Modulator Trackback on March 12, 2010 at 1:09 am

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