Tag Archives: desert

The cactus bees are here!

19 May

At least in Albuquerque, the docile European honeybee hasn’t totally edged out our natives.  The prickly pear cactus in my yard has just started blooming which attracts bees from the genus Diadasia, also known as cactus bees.

One very blissed-out cactus bee

One very blissed-out cactus bee

These kids are spazzy — like my niece Nina after those twinkies Mimi insists on feeding her — they duck and dive and roll. With the kind of lust possible only after desert-induced deprivation, cactus bees fling themselves into a flower and cover their entire bodies with pollen. 

Utter abandoned bliss.

If chocolate suddenly disappeared from shelves in North America, you’d find me with the frenzy of a cactus bee, bathing in Scharffen Berger the minute I tracked down a source.

Vacation Pollination: Saguaro

16 May

Seeing the saguaro bloom was the only thing I wanted for my birthday. And I got it.

Daylight pollination of the saguaro cactus

Daylight pollination of the saguaro cactus

A four day weekend in Tucson, AZ and a 6am hike in the Sonoran desert chalked up the moment I was waiting for… Though the stately saguaro cacti are usually pollinated at night by bats (the Lesser Long-nosed Bat, to be exact),  the blossoms remain open for a few hours each morning giving local honeybees a shot at the goodies.

[More saguaro photos on Flickr]