Focus – weekly photo challenge


I have perhaps more than my fair share of out-of-focus photos of bees. But it is quite cool to get them in flight.


Buff tailed bumblebee

Buff tailed bumblebees, Bombus terrestris, are one of the twenty species of bumblebee found in Ireland. They are very similar to white-tailed bumblebees, Bombus lucourum, in fact they are so similar that it is impossible to tell the workers apart. The Queens, who emerge in spring, are quite distinct though.

As the name suggests the buff tailed bumble has indeed a tail that is buff coloured (see photos above). While the white tailed bumbles (see photos below) have much whiter tails. On closer inspection, you may also notice the difference in the yellow banding. The yellow bands on the white tailed bee are more lemon yellow.

Inspired by today’s Daily Prompt: Buff

Rare – Weekly photo challenge

Worldwide bee species are becoming rarer. In Ireland, it is estimated that 30% of our bee species are threatened with extinction, and of these six species are critically endangered. Just by planting some flowers and leaving a small corner of your garden to be “wild”, you could help these endearing, increasingly rare creatures.

For more tips on helping bees check out this garden guide from the All Ireland Pollination Plan.

Admiration – Weekly photo challenge

Any of you that regularly read either of my blogs will probably guess where I am going to go with this week’s photo challenge – admiration.

If there is one thing that I admire it is bees. Who could not respect these amazing creatures! Engineers says they shouldn’t be able to fly because their wings are too small – but someone forgot to tell the bees! Despite being so small they have amazing navigation abilities that we don’t even understand. Dave Goulson a distinguished bee biologist took bumbles several kilometers away from their nests and they still found their way back!

Without bees we would have no apples or strawberries, no broccoli or potatoes, no Brazil nuts or coffee. And there are many more crops that they pollinate. Yet many of our bees are in decline worldwide. More than half of Ireland’s bee species have undergone substantial declines in their numbers since 1980.

Some of these photos you may have seen before.

For more information about bees check out:

Irish Biodiversity Centre Pollinator Initiative

I also contribute to a friend’s blog at Wild Pollinator Gardens

In the UK’s Bumblebee Conservaion Trust

And in the USA, the Xerces Society


Weekly Photo Challenge – Change

This week’s Photo challenge is Change. It is a sort of tradition in our family to give a child a tree on their second birthday. My parents gave my son a crab apple tree. It is now in it’s fifth year. In the spring it is laden with pink/white flowers. At this time of year the tiny apples are just turning from green to shades of yellow and orange.

The transformation from flower to fruit is in itself amazing – a change that would not be possible with bees and other pollinators.

Bumblebee on apple blossom

Bumblebee on apple blossom