As a result of my promise under the Photographing Hidden Gems post on 3 June, here is the first of a mini-series of stories based on some of my insect photographs
|CARPENTER BEE (|
It was his nature to be solitary. He flitted from flower to flower, searching, feeding. Always searching, always feeding, always alone. No hive for the likes of him.
He paused between the flowers, testing the air for intruders.
Uncertain, he hovered, turning first one way, then the other. A vibration ruffled his iridescent navy blue wings. It was barely perceptible, yet it sparked a need, a longing, an imperative.
He turned a full circle, perplexed. The vibration receded.
A scent distracted his attention. He descended to land on the thistle’s purple flower head. He crawled into position and probed until his proboscis found the channel leading to the nectar.
Now the vibration interrupted his feeding again, so subtle he almost missed it. The imperative strengthened.
He lifted away from the thistle and turned to face the disturbance. A distant shape was coming towards him. The imperative overcame his instinct to flee. Instead he flew directly towards the shape, his body humming and pulsing in bewilderment and excitement.
The shape coalesced into another Carpenter bee and when he reached her his confusion dissolved.
Their tiny bodies briefly joined in fleeting harmony, the imperative to mate overcoming their shy dispositions.
She immediately began to search for suitable wood in which to drill and lay her eggs. He dutifully followed. Soon he would have a nest to guard.
This little chap received a passing mention in my travel essay ‘African for Softies’ published in the Writers Abroad anthology: Foreign and Far Away