The humble bumblebee’s wildest ride
It was a beautiful summer Sunday in Gothenburg last weekend.
The sun was streaming through our bedroom window, and Felix and I were desperate to leave the house and soak up that sweet vitamin D while it was still possible.
A trip to the botanical gardens was just the ticket, we decided, and set off on our journey.
Through the beautiful summer blooms we wandered, hand in hand, stopping to make daisy chains and marvel at the beauty of Botaniska.
And then it happened.
“Whoa, look at those weird ones!” Felix said, pointing at some strange orchids.
They were beautiful, but looked dangerous for insects. Below the petals there was a huge bowl-shaped thing that looked perfect for trapping ants or whatever the orchid’s favourite bug might be.
Ever since coming to this wonderful country I have been attempting to photograph bumblebee in real and proper focus. I think they are adorable. To me, they are the puppies of the insect world.
So, when I saw one buzzing around this orchid’s beautiful face, I crept closer, armed with iphone, closing in on Ms Bumblebee until…
She fell in the bowl.
“Oh no! Should I save her? Is it going to be eaten? I’ve never heard of an insectivorous orchid, but it looks so weird,” I worried as the she attempted to climb out with no success.
“I’ll google it,” Felix suggested.
A couple of minutes later, I had finished filming her eventually successful escape, and Felix had come across a wonderful blog, detailing exactly what had happened and why.
The blog can be found here.
Written by Juliet Blankespoor, it was a scarily accurate description of exactly what Felix and I had just witnessed.
Below you will find my meticulously filmed and edited video (complete with soundtrack) and I think you’ll like it.
“The enticing pink petals, along with the flower’s wafting fragrance, attract large bumblebees, who clumsily pry their way into the inner chambers of the labellum through the slit down the front,” writes Juliet.
“Once inside, the bees quickly realize they have been duped, as there is no nectar to be found. The bees are unable to retreat via the labellum due to the petal’s crafty design, so they look elsewhere for an escape from the pink luminescent chamber.””…our lady’s slipper is no insectivore; she eats dirt, not hapless bees! The totally buzzed out bee takes a deep breath and looks around. Light, up above! Freedom calls, and our bee gingerly pulls her legs free, one at a time, and flies upward and onward. She bangs her head against something as she makes her exit, but eventually she wriggles free and goes on to find a blueberry bush sporting ample flowers.”
And, at this point, if you’re really interested – and you should be because it’s fascinating – you should just click along to Ms Blankespoor’s piece on the subject for the whys and the wherefores.
She’s got an excellent little description of why orchids are called orchids as well, and it has a lot to do with testicles, so I’m sure you won’t be sorry if you read it.
One of the things I’d like to add, at this point, is that I’ve been hearing a lot of anti-smartphone stuff lately/for the past seven years or so and I think it’s pretty silly.
I was struck in that moment by how lucky we were to have a tiny lil’ computer in our pocket which allowed us to discover the true and wonderful beauty of what we had just seen.
Perhaps we’re at the peak of internetting, since the world’s collective governments are attempting to figure out how to ruin everything good and fun, so I think we should just embrace this knowledge while we can.
How awesome is technology sometimes?
Super awesome, that’s what I say.
And, to finish us off, here’s an adorbs (for the older readers, that means “adorable”) picture of me wearing some flowers on my skull.