Bee Petting, 2009

I began the relaxing hobby of bee petting couple of years ago, after reading about the idea in one of Tom Brown, Jr.’s books. (This is not for you who allergic to bees, you know who you are.)

It helps to have love in your heart for the bees, they are very cute, and important in the web of life. They act a bit like cats, standoffish and cool, obviously they have better things to do than mess with humans. But they will allow you to pet them, if they have time!

I’ve been petting bumble bees at Sprouts Garden in the hyssop and mint patch. These are big ones with lots of fuzzy hair, black bodies with a yellow spot on the back that is widely variable in size, shape and intensity of color. They flit from flower to flower, grasping the plant with with there four back legs. Once settled, they extend their probiscus into the tiny flowers. Then they use their smaller front legs to pull the flower up over their heads so they can reach the nectar at the bottom, it is quite amusing to watch.

Most of them are predominantly black, but there are some like this one below, who are mostly yellow. Some have all black thoraxes, others are striped as below. Some are big, some little, and all are busy (as a bee).

Yellow head bumble bee on anise hyssop
Yellow head bumble bee on anise hyssop

These are such focused little creatures! I sometimes accidentally push them off route while trying to pet them. They make an extra buzzing sound, then rush off to the next flower. They are not easily diverted from their tasks, even by a giant trying to stroke their fuzzy little backs. Stinging me is the last thing on their tiny minds, of this I am sure.

Bee Petting

I think I first heard of this from a Tom Brown Jr. book, he was talking about getting in tune with the insect world. I gave it a try last year, and again last week when I was visiting the Sprouts Garden. I love the hyssop that is flowering even this last week of September, so do the bees and butterflies.

The bees were numerous, and I was feeling good about them being there, so tried petting one of the bees. She flew off quickly when I touched her, but then I tried another, and got 2 strokes in before she moved on to the next flower. I could tell I didn’t scare her off, rather, she was busy gathering nectar and needed to move on. I’ve done this several times since. I think it is important to have no fear, and useful to feel loving towards the bees. They can be like cats, a bit standoffish at times, but they will allow you to pet them, if they have time!

Hyssop, Bee, & Butterfly
Hyssop, Bee, & Butterfly

I couldn’t hold the camera and bee pet at the same time, so I did not get a shot, but there are several Youtube videos showing bee petting, who knew?