Image: Diadasia Bee Straddles Opuntia engelmannii Cactus Flower Carpels by Jessie Eastland - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0 

Rounding out the week, we are sharing a sweet and blissful video of tired little bees relaxing. Viewing them sinking into the soft petals of the beautiful flower, comfortable and relaxed, reminds us to de-stress in these challenging times we are in.

Bees can be very cute, but many people are scared of them. If you know someone who is afraid of bees, please share this blog post with them.

Imagine a teensy-weensy sleepy bee dusted in yellow pollen, curled up fast asleep in the petals of a soft flower… now picture two bees cuddled up sleeping together.

Phoenix, Arizona-based wildlife photographer Joe Neely recently captured images of two bees snuggling in a flower. His amazing pictures say it all. He gifts us with a rare glimpse into a sweet side of bees many have never seen before.

These little sleeping beauties, Globe Mallow Bees (Diadasia diminuta), love to cuddle up in their favorite flowers solo or with a good friend. They snooze within the protective cups of globe mallow flowers.

Here is the 2:12-minute video by Zoo Land of the images Joe Neely took of the slumbering bees: 



Globemallow (Sphaeralcea munroana) is their favorite foraging flower, and is at the center of their world, providing them with nectar and pollen as well as a soft bed to curl up in. These bees are fully dedicated to this flower, which makes the globe mallow bee, Diadasia diminuta, a specialized bee.

Most bee species are solitary, unlike honeybees, and each globe mallow female is the queen of her own castle. They don’t have hives, instead they live in nests they have excavated in the partially compacted ground soil near dirt roads in the western US. Mysterious ‘turrets’ or chimneys surround the nest entrances, which are still a mystery to scientists. To see the landscape where they make their homes and view their ‘turrets’ go to the US Forest Service and scroll down.  

This tiny bee is only 7-9 mm long, but has lengthy, highly plumose hairs on its hind legs where the large yellow pollen grains are gathered and carried back to the nest. Mama bee molds the pollen grains combined with nectar into loaves for her offspring, with each one getting its own loaf in its own cell.

Globe mallow bees get covered in pollen as they forage and are important pollinators of these flowers. Although they groom most of the pollen into the pollen baskets on their hind legs to take back to the nest, some remains on their bodies and brushes onto the stigma of each of the next few globe mallow flowers visited. Both flower and bee help each other survive.

All Diadasia species specialize on flowers of their choice, some have the same sort of relationship with cacti (see main image above), sunflowers, wild bindweeds or other mallows. They are all flower-loyal little bees.

Do bees sleep? According to Brandon Hopkins, a bee researcher at Washington State University, bees don’t have eyelids so you can’t tell by looking for closed eyelids. With over 20,000 types of bees on the planet, they sleep in many ways. Honeybees stop moving their antennae and can fall over sideways. Since they work all the time, they take shifts sleeping inside the hive. They take 15-30 second naps, need little sleep while young and sleep 30-90 minutes as they age.

So next time you worry that a bee might sting you, remember the Globe Mallow bee—dedicated, loyal, cuddly and cute. Turn your worry into a desire to protect bees. We need them in order to survive. They don’t have it easy and are challenged to survive. Their numbers are in decline, mostly due to destructive industrial monoculture and agriculture using bee-toxic pesticides, insecticides and herbicides.  

One thing is for sure, Globe Mallow bees are precious little bees. View more close ups of Joe Neely's images here

Happy weekend and BEE well!  :)