Watch Out, Below!

Jul 3, 2014

"Summertime, and the livin' is easy," belted out Ella Fitzgerald.

She wasn't singing about bees, but she could have been.

Summertime, and the livin' is easy
Fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high
Oh, your daddy's rich and your ma is good-lookin'
So hush little baby, Don't you cry.--George Gershwin.

Not always so easy if you're a sunflower bee (Melissodes agilis) foraging on a Mexican sunflower (Tithonia).

Here you are, nearly tangled in a thicket of yellow pollen. You're absorbed. Totally.  In fact, you're absolutely oblivious to your surroundings.

Suddenly, you feel as if you're being watched. Watched. Targeted. Bombarded.

Fact is, you are.

Off in the distance, another male bee is speeding straight toward you in the proverbial beeline maneuver in a territorial war.

Pull up! Pull up! Ground proximity warning system.

Whew! That was a close one.