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One of the most important insects

One of the most important insects
Photo Information
Copyright: Anna Eksteen (Miss_Piggy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2285 W: 5 N: 5300] (18714)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-05-01
Categories: Insects
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC H9, Digital ISO 100
Exposure: f/4, 1/100 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2009-05-22 23:30
Viewed: 5468
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 74
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Honey Bee / Apis mellifera

I have taken plenty photos of bees, hoping that someday maybe I'll capture that special one. They are very energetic and active insects which constantly move around. Most of my previous attempts where either out of focus or just not good enough for posting, as some or another bodypart of this "busy body" was either cut-off, or hidden away. Although 610km away from home, in Pretoria, Gauteng, at last I got the perfect two-in-one bonus shot as it was even sitting on a lovely little purple flower (my favourite colour, in case you didn't know). While walking through Loot's sister Elmarie's garden, I was hoping to find some different types of insects or birds which we don't usually find in our garden, in Zululand, but instead I found this little honey bee.

Bees belong to the insect Order Hymenoptera, which include wasps, ants and sawflies. There are believed to be between 10,000-20,000 different species of bees. Some bees are social insects like the honey bee, while other bees live very independently of each other. Bees carry pollen by the fine hairs on their legs and body (which is clearly visible on my photo). The Honeybee is one of the most important insects on the planet. Many plants need bees to pollinate, without bees there would be no fruit, vegetables or seeds. It is estimated that nearly a third of our daily diet comes from crops pollinated by bees. The most aggressive and deadly of all the bees is the Killer Bee, aka the African Honeybee.

Distinguishing Features
The 1st thing that usually comes to mind when thinking about bees, is their sting. Interestingly not all bees sting. Some bees have no sting at all, but the bees that do, can deliver a nasty and painful sting (and for some people it could even be lethal).

Branched body hair is one of the main features, which distinguish a bee from a wasp. Wasps have little or no hair on their bodies. The hairs, along with an electrostatic charge, enable the pollen to stay attached to the insect. Hair isn't just confined to the bee's body, its mouthpart also consist of a hairy tongue (unlike other members in Hymenoptera). The hairy tongue is used for sucking up nectar from flowers. The Honeybee has hair protruding from its eyes. The bee's mouthpart also has two strong mandibles (jaws) which function like hands. The mandibles are used for eating pollen, building nests, fending off other insects and feeding the larvae. Bees can identify members of their own colony by an odour. A scent organ located on the bee's antennae picks up the odour. Any bee not smelling right is killed instantly. Bees don't have ears so they communicate through a series of dance moves.

Bees can be found on every continent of the world except Antarctica. They live in hives (man-made) or nests, which can be found in trees, on branches or in burrows underground. The hives have chambers for storage of nectar and pollen and for their larvae. There is usually only 1 queen per hive, though in some species there can be more than 1 in a colony. The role of the queen is to produce baby bees known as larvae. Also inside the hives are 100's of drones, which are males, and 1,000's of worker bees, which are female. Bees provide their own air-conditioning for the nest. To cool their house down, the worker bees stand inside the entrance to the nest and fan their wings.

The Pollinator
Love them or hate them, bees play an important part of the Ecosystem. As a pollinator of plants, they carry the pollen from one plant to another, helping the plants to cross-pollinate, ensuring the plants survival.

So how do the bees do this? Well they are in fact little creatures, covered in fine hairs. The hairs virtually cover their entire bodies, from head to foot. Whilst the bee is busily drinking up the nectar with its tongue, pollen sticks to the fine hairs aided greatly by an electrostatic charge. If you watch a bee closely, you can sometimes see the female bee enter a flower and roll around in the pollen trapping it onto their hairs. You can often see them use their legs to groom themselves, thus rubbing the pollen around their head and into the storing basket on their hind legs (corbiculum). The bee then flies off to another flower and then another, pollinating as it goes. The pollen rubs off the bee's body and hairs, onto the flower's pistils making the pollination process complete. Bees are such an essential part of the pollination process that some plants rely solely on the bees for their reproduction. In some cases farmers have had to rent or hire bees from keepers to help in the pollination of crops such as cherry trees.

It isn't all smooth sailing for the bee, they have many predators. A queen must lay up to 2,000 eggs a day just to keep up with the casualty rate. Birds, bugs, spiders, dragonflies and humans are the bee's greatest enemies. Birds and dragonflies love feeding on bees, picking off unsuspecting workers in flight. Whilst the bee has to be watchful for flying predators, it must also be wary of enemies on the ground. Lurking in the foliage, waiting for a bee to come in for the sweet nectar, are the Assassin Bugs and Flower or Crab Spiders. They just love ambushing prey and the bee is one of the favourite insects on their menu. Pesticides and insecticides are also one of the bee's worst enemies. Spray on flowers and plants can kill the bee or worse, contaminate the pollen, which will later be consumed by the colony and sadly result in multiple deaths.

Friend and Foe
The honeybee is the bee with a sting. If a bee has ever stung you, you know how painful it can be. The sting is a defence mechanism, which is probably designed to protect not the individual bee (as the bee dies after inflicting the sting) but more the nest in which the bee is working hard to support. The bee tries to avoid using its sting on its day to day activities of looking for pollen but has no qualms about using it if it thinks its nest is in jeopardy. The sting releases attack pheromones and may trigger a dangerous anaphylactic reaction that is potentially deadly to us humans. The pheromones let other bees know of the potential threat to their nest and if you hang around long enough you may find yourself under attack by more angry bees. Bees can sometimes be found low to the ground in search of their precious pollen. Flowers like dandelions are an attractive food source to the honeybee. Unfortunately for anyone walking barefooted they are potentially at risk of accidentally treading on the bee, resulting in a sting. Source

I hope you enjoyed looking at this photo as much as I took pleasure in taking it.

siggi, KOMSIS, Argus, matatur, zetu, Pearl, Alex99, goatman04, nglen, roges, Noisette, maurydv, parthasarathi, flashpoint, romuszka, anel, techranger, goldyrs, PaulH, tuslaw, sranjan, valy67, briGG, jeanpaul, boreocypriensis has marked this note useful
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To techranger: ThanksMiss_Piggy 3 05-27 04:46
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2009-05-22 23:35]

Hello Anna,
Wow superb colours and composition.Post card quality shot.The focus is sharp and the details are excellent.The flower is wonderful.TFS
Best regards Siggi

Hi Anna!
Like, you, I have been trying to get that perfect bee photo for as long as I can remember, and you beat me to it! Congrats on this great capture! It would get a Certificate of Merit in any photo competition! Now, let me grab my camera and head for the garden!!

Anna merhaba,bugün bilim adamları,arıların ekolojik denge ve insan sağlığı için hayati önem taşıdığıyla ilgili açıklamalar yapıyorlar.Ama nedense bizler halen olayın ciddiyetini görmezden geliyoruz.Ne kadar acı.
Einstein,"arılar yeryüzünden kaybolursa,insanın 4 yıl ömrü kalır" demiş.Her ne kadar bu teori çürütülüyor olsada,doğanın dengesinin bozulacağı bir gerçek.Umarım, görmekten mutluluk duyduğumuz güzel çiçeklerinde yok olmaması için, arılar hep varolurlar.Paylaştığın için teşekkürler,selamlar :)

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2009-05-23 0:35]

Hello Anna,
Yes, this is the special one. High quality in colours and sharpness. Amazing details. The OOF BG is very beautiful. Excellent POV, DOF and composition.

  • Great 
  • KOMSIS Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 820 W: 0 N: 2419] (10674)
  • [2009-05-23 2:01]

Hi Anna,
Very good macro ...
Bee and flowers are not separated binary.
Great colours, good details and composition.
Have a nice weekend,

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2009-05-23 2:12]

Hello Anna,
A fine macro of this very important insect!
The numbers of bee-keepers are dwindling drastically in my country and since the pollinating work that honey bees do is not being carried out by wild insects fruit growers are having problems!
I like the POV taken with fine sharpness and the composition with the attractive flower and fine BG.
Thanks and best regards,

Such a beautiful image from a good vantage point Anna, in sharp focus and correct exposure, revealing both the bee and the small flower group in a superb fauna/flora balance within natural surroundings. TFS indeed this fine image my friend.

  • Great 
  • zetu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 26 N: 3888] (16941)
  • [2009-05-23 3:55]

Hello Anna
Wonderful capture with excellent details and beautiful colors. Perfect focus too.
Best regards

  • Great 
  • Pearl Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 105 W: 25 N: 76] (321)
  • [2009-05-23 4:24]

Hello Anna,

NIce capture of this bee. Lovely colors and natural tones. I like the POV, very effective and you've composed this image well. Good details and focusing. TFS.


  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2009-05-23 6:24]

Hi Anne.
It is funny but I would be happy to write comments on your shot as your note for it. It is really great that you found and pictured this charming bee at so amazing flower. DOF and details are simply great. I am impressed with superb composition of the shot too. Bravo. Wonderful bee shot. My compliments.

Hi Anna,

An excellent capture with fine colors & details. TFS.



  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2009-05-23 13:05]

Hi Anna. Firstly thanks for athe interesting notes. As you say a very important insect. This is very good close up of the Bee. You have taken this with sharp focusing and fine detail with natural colours.Good use of light on the wings. well done TFS.

  • Great 
  • roges Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 957 W: 0 N: 1329] (6264)
  • [2009-05-23 13:54]

Hello Anna !
Interesting and beautiful macro!
Excellent contrast, congratulations.
Have a nice evening,

Hello Anna
I love your shot very much, you are right, bees are very important insects
very great pose on his pretty purple flower, the details are stunning
lovely colors too
Have a great sunday

Ciao Anna. Good light excellent sharp and amazing BG. Well done.


Ciao Anna,
a superb macro shot of Honey Bee, very good sharpness and splendid colours, excellent POV and composition, fantastic visual impression.
Best regards

Great capture.

Ciao Anna, wonderful composition with lovely busy bee on a beautiful flower, fantastic colors, fine details and splendid sharpness, superb macro, very well done, ciao Silvio

hello Anne
great composition and good macro
beautiful colours
and good sharpness
is he sitting on Fam of Lavandel?
greeting lou

to give back value this insect very important for mankind...thanks Anna!

best sERGIO

Witaj Anno!
Very bautiful bee. It is very clear. Pretty colours and very precise description.
Congratulations and greeting - Roma

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2009-05-25 4:20]

Hello Anna,
Interesting posting and important to recall the importance of bees for pollinisation. In Europe we had great losses of whole bee-colonies and people started to imagine what could happen without these useful insects..
My grand-father used to have bees and as a kid I have been stung very often, it was very very painful! Thanks for this fine and useful posting.
Kind regards

WOW! What a fantastically, well detailed, capture Anna. Very, very well seen and presented. The lighting is absolutely superb. This one is going into my favorites... :)



What an amazing shot, Anna! Yes, this is the right bee shot, you got!
And yes, the Bee is indeed a VIP!

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2009-05-27 11:26]

Hi Anna,
great notes to go with this lovely photo, which is full of colour and has an excellent sharp focus and DOF, well done.

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2009-05-27 19:42]

Exceptionally fine detail in this image Anna,
The DOf is wonderful as it shows both the bee and the beautiful flower in sharp focus. The wings almost look like glass they are shown so well. Great exposure and nicely composed!! This one is definitely a keeper for you!! TFS.

Hello Anna,
Excellent macro shot with beautiful lavender flowers. I personally feel this must be your choice color too (Loot like blue....chuckle). TFS

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2009-05-29 17:55]

Hi Anna
I come visiting now and then to see what you have posted. HOw are oyu? And Loot? Big rugby match tonight!!! Come on the CHIEFS.

Lovely pic of the bee on lavender - they certainly like visiting these flowers. Crisp, sharp and clear - well done

You show him well, I find my bees keep turning their backs to me!!

Best regards to you both

Wonderful image. Really nice with great sharpness. Amazing colour, detail, DOF.

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2009-05-30 5:40]

Hi Anna,
very beautiful and razor sharp image of the fly.
Very outstanding clarity of the flower too.
top class shot that highlight every minute aspect of the plants and its natural process.


Hello Anna !
Oh yes, honey bees are so important ! Our neighbor is breeding them for honey, he says more and more of them are dying because of the pesticides used on the crops nearby. It's getting more and more difficult for him to keep them alive and healthy. And your picture is so beautiful - combination of the bee and the lovely purple flower works well, details are excellent, colors are natural yet very pleasant, composition and POV are perfect. Very well done !

  • Great 
  • briGG Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 195 W: 2 N: 344] (1823)
  • [2009-06-03 8:29]

Hello Anna,

Good macro, nice colours and the sharpness is excellent !
the details are stunning!

The flower and the bee are beautiful!!



Salut Anna
C'est pas facile avoir une telle netteté' avec un bourdon! Ces terribles insectes sont toujours en mouvement,surement les plus difficiles a capturer! Mes compliments pour les excellents détails,bonne journée.
Bravo et au revoir...JP

  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2009-06-06 12:55]

Hi Anna,
It's a magnificent close up.POV,details,sharpness,colors and composition are perfect.Excellent note too!
Thanks for posting..

Hi Anna,
Stunningly beautiful macro capture of Honey Bee while gathering nectar drom a beautiful flower with great details, sharpness, fine POV, lovely pose and nice composition.
TFS and have a nice day!


Wonderful macro! And captured very well.

Magnifique photo,
l'abeille est parfaitement nette et le background splendide
Bravo Anna

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