The Bees are Back

Mums: Summer's Last Hurrah

Monday, this week, the mums had blossomed. And there was nothing but silence.

I look forward every year to the blooming of Ann’s mums outside our back door for number and variety of pollinators they bring. I hunker down as close as I can, close my eyes, and just listen to the buzz, picking out variations in pitch, volume and tone–the voices of green bees, bee flies, syrphid flies, bumble bees, other solitary bees and wasps of all sorts.

But Monday, there were no visitors. And that had me worried.

Then Thursday, they began to show up, and by yesterday, they were back in full force. So I’m likely to have more images from my time dwelling among the bees and the mums. There is so much more going on here than we know.

And I wish, just for a minute, I could sense what the insects do. Some see mating signals–even from the flower; some see food of nectar, others see a meal in the other insects feeding on nectar; for some, it’s a singles bar and they are ready to swing. And I  see the entomological equivalent of the bar room scene off Star Wars–a hundred aliens just hanging out, choosing whatever pleasure they can find before winter.

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About

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

2 Comments on “The Bees are Back

  1. Our wild flowers have been more or less frosted out of existence. A few asters remain, but we have the winter flowering witch-hazel to look forward to!

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