While the trilliums (trillia??) were in bloom in the garden, we were visited for a few days by a small swarm of tiny miner bees. I hadn’t observed this kind of bee before and I was surprised by their behavior. They were very non-aggressive, staying strictly among the trilliums. But the odd part was that they would collect pollen (?) frantically for a few minutes, all of them, and then suddenly, as if someone had flipped a switch, they’d all stop abruptly and just hang out on the flowers, sometimes appearing to socialize, sometimes just crawling slowly around the petals or leaves, sometimes just staying immobile. But none of them were flying around at this point, nor collecting pollen. Every single one of them was feet down on a plant.
Here’s one of the bees appearing to meditate on a raindrop that was trapped on a Columbine (Aquilegia) leaf.
The bees would stay like this for a few minutes and then as if on cue, every single bee would suddenly start flying around and frantically gathering pollen again. I was in the garden and watched them for about an hour and this behavior repeated over and over. I don’t know if that’s normal behavior for miner bees, but it intrigued me.
The next image shows a few of the bees just hanging out on the edge of a petal, but they reminded me of people clinging to a capsized boat, and I couldn’t resist playing with the lower part of the image so that it appears as if the flower is melting from the bottom up and they’ve climbed as high as they can and are discussing whether the melt will consume them too.
Click on the images for a larger view.