A Bumble of Bees

Piling on...

This cluster of bees was found under an Erigeron bloom just at the treeline on the Iceline Trail in Yoho National Park. Awkward to photograph, I solved the problem by gently bending over the flower stem to take the picture, then inverting the photo in  Lightroom again to gives its proper perspective. I believe there are just three bees, and why they grouped together like this I do not know.

Addendum: 4 September, 2010. John S. Ascher of BugGuide has identified these as two males and one female of the bumblebee species Bombus melanopygus.

(Nikon D80 and the Tamron 90mm macro lens mounted on a Kenko Pro 1.4x tele-converter. Nikon R1 flash system, diffused. ISO 250, 1/90 @ f45. Processing in Lightroom 2.7)

This entry was posted in Apidae, Apinae, British Columbia, Canada, Hymenoptera, National Park, Summer.


  1. Roast Garlicious 2 September, 2010 at 4:56 PM #

    that is a beautiful shot… interesting how they are huddled all together.. was it a chilly day?

    • Adrian Thysse 2 September, 2010 at 5:01 PM #

      At the time it was about 19 deg. C with a mix of sun and cloud. Other bees were active at flowers, but they seemed rather sluggish.

  2. Ted C. MacRae 3 September, 2010 at 8:36 AM #

    Interesting solution to the awkward shot problem.

  3. biobabbler 3 September, 2010 at 1:15 PM #

    Being flexible comes in handy. Just saw a post yesterday about 10,000 harvestmen in a huge pile on a tree. Guess it’s bundle week. Cute shot!

    • Adrian Thysse 3 September, 2010 at 1:36 PM #

      I saw that image…amazing! That is what reminded me to post this photograph.

  4. Blackbird 4 September, 2010 at 4:07 PM #

    I wonder if there is a pair of mated bumblebees (often males do some mate guarding after copulation, by which they just ride the female) and another male trying to mate with the female. I do not know the species but there seem to be two colour forms in the photo.

    • Adrian Thysse 4 September, 2010 at 4:30 PM #

      That had occurred to me…perhaps that will be cleared up when BugGuide responds to my I.D request.

    • Adrian Thysse 4 September, 2010 at 10:36 PM #

      See the addendum to the post…:)

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