Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Petting Bumblebees

We had nasty bumblebees on the farm in Wisconsin.
Big buggers, the size of your big toe.
You'd see them flying out from the hole on the side of the hill, and you turned around and walked in the opposite direction.           

I just remembered.   We usually set up cans for target practice right in that general vicinity.
From that perspective, I can guess that did not help.

Here in California, bumblebees come in different sizes, but all downright small.

Bumblebees visit my line up of blooming lavender in the backyard each year.
The first year I saw this phenomenon, I stayed my distance.
The next year, somehow I tripped and practically fell face first in the lavender and ... wow, nothing.
No mean buzzing of chainsaws as a herd of monster bumblebees swarmed about me. 

After the initial scrambling to get the heck out of the danger zone, I realized, they didn’t even noticed me.
So, I do what a farm girl usually does when faced with such a quandary.
I stick my nose back in to see what’s up.

These bumblebees, maybe 4, 5 to a bush, were just going about their business, hopping from one bush to another, doing a wonderful job of distributing pollen on their back ends in the meanwhile.
And these guys were small, like bees…and stranger still….cute!
California is strange!

I was mesmerized and plopped a pillow onto the ground and watched them eye to eye for quite some time.

One day, I was out checking on my little busy herd of bumblebees and saw they were just sitting there. ..not bouncing around like the happy little buzzers they usually were.
It was towards the end of the blooming season, the evening sun low on the horizon, and my bumblebees were just little zombies in the shade, just sitting there.
This did concern me, so just to be sure they were ok… I poked one.
Well, gently of course!

Are you all right, I said.  It moved a bit, but generally just stayed put.

I think my little bumblebee family was high and stuffed on nectar! 

Being the idiot farm girl, animal lover I am, I just could not pass up the opportunity.

I petted the bumblebee.

Little tickling of hairs on the pad of my finger…kinda springy.   I went from one bush to another and petted another and another and another, then went back inside.

The next morning they were gone, but were back that afternoon, buzzing around as if nothing unusual had occurred, doing their duty as usual.

 They advertise on TV, California has Happy Cows. 

Add bumblebees.

                                                                                                    copyright Stepka 2011