Friday, August 16, 2013

New Bee on the Block

 I've been chasing her for three days: the elusive "I'm not a Vosnesenskii" queen. I first saw her at the back of my neighbor Jean's house in the fennel, but she evaded me. I saw her again yesterday across the street in the tall coneflowers at Kelly's house, but she flew off before I could even get the camera out of its pocket. Today I finally found her in Jean's oregano (or is it marjorum?).

She has a beautiful velvety black abdomen, with very little yellow at the top. She's got black fur around her compound eyes, and a kind of blonde mohawk with its dark roots showing.

 Then when I got home I realized I'd shot a photo of one of her (smaller) daughters at the goldenrod in Catherine's yard. The garden has a corner with blackberries, goldenrod and buddleia which is currently a very popular bee spot.

When I looked closely at this boy covered in pollen, I suspect it may be of the same nest. Now for identification. It sort of looks like Brown-belted Bumble Bee, one of the 35 species native to British Columbia. You can see a fabulous photo here on E-Fauna. But then I found a site I've never seen before called Bee Spotter and I'm looking at the Bombus impatiens or Common Eastern Bumblebee and I have a queasy feeling, this is what I might be seeing. What do you think? Is it an escapee from a greenhouse or a local yokel?

This post is dedicated to Jean's father Tony who left us three days ago, about the same time I started seeing this mystery bee.

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