This Bee Species Sleep in Flowers and It’s as Cute As You Imagine

This Bee Species Sleep in Flowers and It’s as Cute As You Imagine

Bees are the world’s primary pollinators, but they do a lot more than that. Turns out that a species of bee formed a unique relationship with the globe mallow flower and gets to cozy up in its petals as a reward.

Bees are fascinating creatures that can be found on every continent and in every habitat that supports insect-pollinated flowering plant life. Bees are known for their role in pollination and for producing beeswax and honey.

Bees are one of the most hardworking animals in the world. A honeybee usually visits 50–1000 flowers in one trip out of the hive and they can take up to ten trips a day, making them the world’s most important pollinator of food crops. It is estimated that one-third of the food we consume every day relies on pollination that is carried out mainly by bees. [1]

Bees Need Sleep Too

With all this work being done, it is not surprising that bees need to sleep comfortably every night to recharge for the next day. Recently, Joe Neely, a 38-year-old wildlife photographer from Phoenix, captured two bees clustered in a flower and the picture shows a rarely-seen beautiful side of them.

“The story behind these photos [began when] I and my fiancé Niccole went out to find poppy flowers,” Neely told reporters. “On the way back, we saw this patch of pink flowers just off the highway so we stopped to take some photos.

“Niccole was shooting over this since orange Globe Mallow plant that was hidden inside all of these pink flowers and she heard the bees buzzing about. Then she notices that some of the flowers had bees in them but they were not moving.

“I came over and study it for a while and more bees showed up. Soon, all the vacant flowers were occupied and this one bee was left out. She crawled over to this open flower and got inside with the other one. I was watching as he stumbled around almost drunk-like and then got settled in.

“Well, I never knew that bees slept in flowers but as it turns out these bees (Diadasia diminuta) sleep in the orange flowers called Globe Mallows.” [2]

The Globe Mallow Bee

According to the Forest Service at the United States Department Of Agriculture, “The globe mallow bee is about 7 to 9 mm long and collects pollen from its favorite food plant, globe mallow (Sphaeralcea).

“The bees become covered with pollen visiting the flowers [and] most of this pollen is groomed into the pollen basket on the hind legs and taken back to the nest. However, some remains on the body and is deposited on the stigma of each of the next few globe mallow flowers visited. Thus, Diadasia contributes to globe mallow reproduction. [3]

“On how they knew the bees were asleep instead of dead or unconscious, Brandon Hopkins, a bee researcher at Washington State University, has this to say: “They [bees] don’t have eyelids, so you can’t just look for bees with their eyes closed. By carefully watching bees, scientists have found that honey bees stop moving their antenna and in some cases fall over sideways.” [4]

Earth is home to over 20,000 known bee species and most of them, such as honeybees, work day and night, but every once in a while, they take shifts so they can get some rest.

Why are Bees Important to Us?

There are more than 369,000 species of flowering plants in the world, and about 90% of them rely on pollination by insects such as bees to survive and reproduce. Bees are also a keystone species and other species depend on them for survival because their food sources, such as nuts, berries, seeds, and fruits, depend on pollination.

Despite the importance of bees to our continued food supply, many populations of wild bees worldwide, as well as honey bees, are on the decline.

Several factors threaten our bee species today:

  • Climate change
  • Use of pesticides, GMOs, and neonicotinoids
  • Loss of habitat and biodiversity
  • Land-use changes that lead to habitat fragmentation
  • Monoculturization of bees
  • Pests, diseases, viruses, and mold

This is especially worrying because pollinators, such as bees, contribute billions of dollars to the global economy. Currently, global production of bee-pollinated crops is estimated at $577 billion, and pollinators directly contribute $24 billion to the U.S. agricultural industry. This represents one-third of the food Americans consume. [5]

The health and safety of crops and plant communities would be disastrously impacted in the case of a disappearance of pollinators. We can’t survive without bees.

Reference:

  1. Turns Out, There’s A Bee Species That Sleep In Flowers And It’s As Cute As It Sounds“, Bored Panda. May 2019.
  2. Apparently, There Are Bees That Sleep In Flowers And It Is As Cute As It Sounds“, Inner Strength.
  3. Globe Mallow Bee (Diadasia diminuta)“, U.S Forest Service.
  4. There Are Bees That Sleep In Flowers And It’s As Cute As It Sounds“, Healthy Food House. June 2019.
  5. What You Need to Know About Bees and How You Can Help to Protect Them“, Earth Day.
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