Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Flight of the Bumblebee

Today is a grey day, cool but not cold. Cloudy but no rain in sight. It's good weather if you need to work on clearing away brush or for doing some outside work on your house. I know this because my neighbor on one side is clearing away brush, and the neighbor on the other side is doing some work on the outside of his house.

It's not such a good day if you're a bumblebee, though. It's late September and pickings are slim. I have one pot of brave marigolds that keep pushing out blooms despite impending Autumn. Marigolds tend to be overlooked in warmer months, when there are fields of wildflowers, roses, rhododendrons and sweet petunias festooning every deck, footpath and window box. Marigolds smell funny and obviously their petals are not highly prized.

I know that Summer is over because the bumblebees are visiting the marigolds.  I know it's nearly Fall because these bumblebees are so desperate, they think about landing in my yellow hair, confused by it residing above a tender spring-green shirt. It's fall and bees are feeling desperate. They are also not very smart. Or rather, they are selectively smart.  A bumblebee is like a supercomputer that has only one software program installed. The bumblebee can find nectar, return to the nest and convey the exact location of said nectar by doing this little buzzing dance in front of his bee friends, which their little programmed brains can translate into a flight plan. But they can't figure out that I am not a flower.

Early Spring is equally dangerous as bees get all excited by warm weather but find few plants in bloom. In April, these bumblebees were completely fooled by The Boy's bright yellow remote control Mustang as it moved back and forth across the porch. They hovered over it, and followed it as he sent it streaking down the driveway. Again, the bumblebee's internal programming completely failed him.  Either he thought the car was a huge, yellow flower or he thought it was the Supreme Leader of all Bumblebees and was trying to follow its instructions. Hey, it's possible. I saw it in the Transformers movie.

The best thing about Autumn, of course, is that soon all insects - the dumb ones, the intelligent ones and the dangerous ones - will all be going into winter hibernation, leaving me free to sit on the deck and enjoy the crisp air and the coming foliage.

Today is a cool day, cloudy and grey. The kind of day that is counting down the last few remaining moments of Summer.  It's good weather if you're a little weary of being followed by bumblebees.

No comments: