Friday, July 10, 2020

Revenge on bees

They say revenge corrodes the soul. And I find that to be a popular theme in works of fiction. But since I don't generally like the works of fiction that get interested in that theme, I find it calls into question the truth of the theme itself. So I am thus inclined to think: When it comes to revenge I would have to see for myself.

Oh, who am I?

Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya.

No, not really. I'm actually just here to talk about bees.

Generally speaking this blog has been pro bee. They pollinate flowers which is super important for people and for other living things who eat.

That's all, just... who... eat.

So, point there for the bees.

Honey is also a terrific bonus. And finally, most particularly lately, I have found bees a ready and enjoyable photo subject. I have shown you a good number of pictures of bees in this space and, spoiler alert, you are going to be seeing a few more in the course of today's missive.

But I have not always found it so pretty between me and the bees. When I was an unhappy fifth grader my class went on a field trip, on foot, walking along a treeless road shoulder, on a hot day, to a historical building: The Leonis Adobe. To be honest the Leonis Adobe was pretty neat. It's the oldest house in the L.A. area and it's made out of adobe! Which is... neat.

But then we had to walk back along the same unpleasant route to school. Along the way a bee flew into the thick hair at the back of my head and got a little stuck in there. Panicked, I suppose, as I urgently tried to get him out, he stung me! My head swelled up alarmingly and hurt significantly. This, I believe, contributed to my mild aversion and wariness around bees. Maybe such an aversion was not so different from that of most people, I mean bee stings can do everything from killing one to merely making one very... respectful. 

So that happened. And I went on with my life. 

More things then happened, many not related to bees. You will find various accounts of those "things" throughout my 2,500 essays here. Just scroll down, reading carefully as you go, and keep hitting "older posts" at the bottom of the page when you get there. 

After a few dozen hours you will have a fair gist of it.

But what you may not run into in that journey is the fact that when bees are around I have always felt slightly harassed. I have been wary, careful to keep a distance, and in the case of more persistent varieties, I have felt just a touch persecuted by them.

Then, a couple months ago I started taking, among other things, very close up pictures of bees. Like this:

And as I have taken these bee pictures I have not, indeed, felt harassed or persecuted. Rather I am intent and focused on them. The bees are interested in the flowers, and I am interested in the bees.

But the bees move around a lot. And it is extremely hard to get a good close up of a bee without blurring.

Look at this bee on the side of this flower:

This is a kind of bumble bee I have been trying to get a decent photo of for weeks. This is not very close up at all. I tracked this bee all over this flower bed and took dozens of almost really good close up pictures of him. Twenty or thirty blurry pictures. Sometimes they were slightly blurry. Sometimes they were insanely blurry. And sometimes I missed the bee altogether!

Occasionally I would come across other bees and track them for awhile. This one below moved around less than the bumble bee above, so I got this shot:

And that's when it struck me: There I was, intent on my subjects, unbothered, and going about my business. And there the bees were. They didn't hate me, but they were wary. They tended to move on when I got too close. They were willing to coexist with me, but at a careful distance that I wouldn't quite respect. 

I made them just a little nervous.

Ha, well

Now you know how it feels, bees.

Now you know how it feels.


  1. I am glad you've made peace with the bees through photography. I have always had an affinity for them, and sadly find myself rescuing at least a few a week that are in our pool. I don't want the pool anymore, so if you or any of your readers would like it and can pay for its removal and transport, please contact me, Grape, through this blog. Anyway, we also had a honeycomb built in our avocado tree and that was super cool! Yay, bees!

  2. I didn't know you had an affinity for bees! Can you come out here for a visit and I can use you as a lure? I bet I'd get some good pictures! Bring avocados! Bring your pool. I'm sure we could figure something out.


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