This past weekend I was out at one of my study plots taking some photographs. There were many cactus blooms and many more bees. I love watching the bee activity around the cactus blooms, especially the male bee activity. Male bees fly around specific blooms looking for female bees to mate with. If you watch the blooms you will see bees diving into flowers and quickly flying out, then flying around the bloom and taking off…repeating this crazy flying loop many many times. Here is how the process takes place:
1. Female bee finds flower to visit and gather pollen or nectar.
2. Female bee ‘swims’ around to gather pollen…Ahhhhhhh POLLEN!
3. Male bee spots unsuspecting female bee. Here is his chance to try to mate with this unsuspecting female that is busy gathering pollen. One minute she’s swimming in pollen, and before she knows it…there’s a male in the flower with her
4. She tries to fly out of the flower, but he’s fast. He grabs her and wrestles her down. MATE WITH ME!
5. More intense wrestling goes on. He continues to try to mount her as she tries to get away.
Now, I am not sure if he actually succeeded. It happened so fast and after this shot she flew away and he stayed behind. After, he flew away and began patrolling flowers for more unsuspecting females.
Of course there are many other males patrolling the same flowers competing with other males to get to these females. If male beeX takes a break in one of the flowers that male beeY is patrolling, male beeY will dive bomb the flower and chase male beeX away.
This goes on and on all day. Who says males can’t multitask?