Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Dark bee in a prickly pear cactus flower

with 6 comments

Dark Bee in Prickly Pear Cactus Flower 8006

Click for greater clarity.

As May arrived, so did the flowers on the prickly pear cacti, Opuntia engelmannii, and with the advent of those flowers came many insects that were attracted to them. Before Europeans brought honeybees to the Americas, native bees like this one pollinated the wildflowers. They still do.

Date: May 21.  Place: Great Hills Park.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 26, 2013 at 6:21 AM

6 Responses

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  1. So beautiful. The buds on the huge prickly pear I pass now and then still haven’t opened, but it lives in the shade of a tree. When I saw them developing I wondered if yours had bloomed yet. Indeed they have – and I imagine there are happy bees galore because of it.


    May 26, 2013 at 6:54 AM

    • Over the last few weeks, almost every prickly pear cactus flower I looked into either already had one or several insects in it, or acquired one or several as I continued looking. I’m surprised the one near you hasn’t opened yet, because even one in my neighborhood that’s shaded flowered a few weeks ago.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 26, 2013 at 7:38 AM

  2. Her dusting of pollen beecomes her!
    Gorgeous photograph as usual! 😀


    May 26, 2013 at 12:50 PM

  3. It’s nice to see bees other than honey bees. Is she collecting the pollen on hairs on her underside?


    May 27, 2013 at 12:40 AM

    • I’m sorry to say I don’t know whether the bee has picked up all that pollen on purpose or inadvertently. If anyone who reads this knows, please tell us.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 27, 2013 at 6:27 AM

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