Cold Sleep and Sunshine

I was tending nets on a chilly, foggy morning a few days ago when I noticed several bumblebees on the underside of the goldenrod flowers.  These particular goldenrod plants were still in the shade, and a bit frosty. The bees were pretty frosty too.  Apologies for the blurry photo, but it was pretty difficult to get a good macro shot of the underside of a goldenrod swaying in the breeze – but if you look closely, you’ll see the beads of frost on the flower – and on the bee – especially its legs, wings and butt end.  Of course I know that lots of insects find shelter and go dormant on cold nights and I’ve often watched butterflies in particular, but this was the first time I’d found bumblebees on goldenrod.  It was sort of fitting.

As I watched the sunshine sliding down the field and the flowers beginning to warm, little bee antennae began waving, ever so slowly.  Then first one leg, then the other, in slow motion, but moving nevertheless.  In no time at all, both bees and flowers were nearly thawed.  It never ceases to amaze me the way Nature takes care of its own.  This is fast becoming my favorite field ever – can’t wait for spring!


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