Tag Archive | new zealand

A Bee’s Zzzz’s

Photo by J M Neely

Cuddle bee, huddle bee

Curled up in the middle bee

Meet me in your flower chair

Waving on a long stem-stair

Hush the rush of pollen hunting

Curl up in a blossom bunting

Fold your wings and thank the sun

Bee content… your work is done


— by Ruth Gilmore Ingulsrud


Photo by J M Neely


≈ Pollen Pillow ≈

This photo of two sleepy bees catching some zzz’s brought me to my knees! Amaz-zzing! Thanks to photographer J M Neely’s skill and patience with the camera, the image of two bees curled up in ying-yang perfection inside an orange Globe Mallow plant was captured and has been making the rounds on social media. These bees do often curl up in their favorite flower to fall asleep. What a lovely place to snooze.

These globe mallow bees, from the hot, dry climates of the Western United States, differ from the more commonly-recognized honey bees.

Photo by J M Neely

Globe mallow bees do not live in hives and do not produce honey like honey bees. They live alone, (solitary like most bees actually), and the females create individual homes or apartments for each baby bee in the ground.

The growing bee larvae is provided nutrition by the mom-bee in the form of a yummy pollen-loaf. She makes this by gathering pollen from the globe mallow flowers that she visits. She packs the pollen grains into long hairs on her hind legs as she flies from flower to flower. She then mixes the pollen grains with nectar and packs it into the small tunnel or bee-baby nursery room under the ground. When the baby bee hatches out, it can start eating its nutritious pollen-loaf.

Bees live very busy lives and need their rest. Most sleep at night, but can also take naps during the day. Bees need sleep just like humans. If they do not get the sleep that they need, it becomes harder for them to do their jobs. When bees sleep, their posture changes. Their wings fold down against their bodies, they curl up in flowers or cling to stems. Their antennae droop down. Even their body temperature drops. If they are in a deep sleep, it takes time and a lot of bright sunlight to wake them.

Photo by GurayDere from Flicker

While solitary female bees have their nests to go to at night to get some sleep, most male bees (of the non-honey-bee variety) have nowhere to sleep. They will find flowers or the stem of a plant to attach to and go to sleep. They will often sleep in groups, with male bees of the same species lined up together.

The photo shown here (on the right) was taken by Dino J. Martins, an entomologist (insect scientist) from Kenyan who loves bugs. He admires a type of bee from east Africa called the “amegilla bee.” It flies fast, works hard and has a high-pitched buzz. At night, the males often find grass or plant stems near swamps or moist places where they stop to sleep for the night. The amegilla bee is only one type of bee among the over 20,000 species that have been identified worldwide. Unfortunately, one out of every four wild bee species is in danger of becoming extinct, or disappearing completely.

While honey bees produce honey and are valuable to humans for this sweet product, all types of bees are important. They all help to pollinate plants which provide us and all living creatures with food.

Boxes of bees are even trucked around the country to farms that grow fruits, nuts and other crops so that the plants will be pollinated by the busy bees. These bees are so valuable that sometimes, the hives are even stolen by bee-rustlers!

A small 8-ounce jar of Manuka money from New Zealand can cost as much as 60 U.S. dollars! So the bees that make honey from the flowering manuka shrub are very valuable as well. Farmers have begun adding cameras to their farms and attaching tracking devices to their bee hives in order to protect themselves from theft. Since bee populations have been decreasing in the past few years because of disease, chemicals and stress on the insects, bees have become even more valuable.

So if you happen upon a sleeping bee, let it be! These valuable little critters need their sleep. They really do need to catch their z’s!


Author’s Note:

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Go, Go Kakapo!

What sounds like a cell phone vibrating in “mute” mode, can call a girlfriend over from several kilometers away with no cell reception whatsoever, and is possibly our longest-lived egg-laying feathered friend? The Kakapo, of course! This flightless New Zealand bird is the heaviest parrot in the world and can live to be 120 years old. It used to have few natural predators, but when the humans moved in, along with their dogs and cats and rats, the Kakapo population went into a tail spin. Kakapo

When the population of this rare bird plummeted to about 60 birds remaining in the 1990’s, scientists flew into action. Rats and cats were not interested in helping the effort to save the Kakapo and instead continued to kill and eat the young chicks. The scientists decided that the Kakapos needed to move to a safer neighborhood and so several birds were moved to three different islands where the rats and cats were not allowed to settle, even if they managed to show valid passports.

Once the Kakapos were protected, coddled and given extra yummy food (like apples, sweet potatoes, nuts, and sunflower seeds), their numbers began to increase. Currently, there are about 140 Kakapos strutting around on their own islands.


See those little whiskers next to the beaks of the Kakapoes? (Or is the plural “Kakapoo?”) Those whiskers are not just for looking handsome on a Saturday night; they are very helpful to this nocturnal bird that runs around at night. Both the male and female birds use these whiskers to help them navigate their way as they walk with their heads down close to the ground. Speaking of Saturday night, do you know how a male Kakapo manages to get himself a date? With a boom box, of course.

kakapo_in_boom_bowlThe male inflates a sac below his throat and starts to “boom” as the sac fills with air. This attractive sound brings the females who follow carefully groomed paths to the male’s “boom bowl.” Yes, the male makes a smooth bowl in the dirt so he has a stage to perform his awesome mating dance when the girl bird finally arrives. The bowl helps make the booming sounds louder; he doesn’t even need a microphone for his act.


The Kakapo does other amazing things too. Although it cannot fly, it can climb up to the top of trees to have a look-about. He can fall with style, using his wings to glide or parachute down from the trees to the ground. Since Kakapoes exist because of human help, each bird has a name. They are all banded and many are tracked with radio signals. Every Kakapo is special. Maybe some day, there will be enough of them around for us to let them go about their lovely Kakapo lives without being constantly coddled by scientists. For now the 124 Kakapo that do exist need our help.


For more information see the Kakapo Recovery Site at:


Picture Book featuring the Kakapo:


kakapo montgomery book