Face To Face With A Bee

I'm guessing that this is a honey bee, Apis mellifera.

I’m guessing that this is a honey bee, Apis mellifera.

I like bees. I think they’re cute. Bees buzzing around flowers are my favorite. If you knew me, this might seem a bit odd, because I’m horribly afraid of spiders. I guess the addition of wings and lack of two more legs make a difference! (Being outside is a big help, too!) Anyway, being a fan of bees, I stop and look when I notice one. On cooler days, it’s sad to see some bees lying flightless on the ground or some object; they can’t fly when it’s cold. The other day I saw this bee on the roof of a car. I didn’t think it was cold, but perhaps it was cool enough to make this bee pause. It didn’t seem to mind when I put my cellphone only a foot away to capture a photo. Imagine my surprise when I enlarged the photo later and noticed that the bee seemed to be looking at me! I think this little guy is a honey bee, but identifying bee species is not my forte. But then I noticed, does the bee’s face seem to be deformed, or is that just an illusion because of the angle? And what is up with the middle leg on the near side — as in, where is that leg?! I’m thinking either this bee was in quite a battle or maybe it’s got a disease or parasite. Either way, this fuzzy buzzer has a story to tell. I wish I could speak “bee.” I hope this one got to fly another day. Bees aren’t just cute though, they’re fascinating. Really! Just check out some of the bee facts at the International Bee Research Association. And scientists now say that some bees not only put the colony first via altruistic suicide by stinging to protect the nest, but also some Eastern honey bees are more susceptible to the Varroa mites that have been decimating some bee populations. By being more susceptible, those bee larvae get the mites first and die — and healthy bees push them out of the nest before the other bees can be infested. Wow, huh?

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