February 03, 2009

Best Laid Schemes of Beards & Bees

In the comment on the below post in the Department of Beards, Pele asked if beards of bees would be covered, & sent this picture. Yes! However, there was no mustache of bees on his beard, preferring to wear it in pacifist Amish style, & since February is the Month of the Mustache, I did a little research. Of course, there is such a thing on God's bee-bearded earth. The United States Department of Agriculture has a news article entitled "Cranberry-Polinating Bee wears a Mustache."

Every child knows bees live in hives, make honey, pollinate flowers, and deliver a sting if provoked. But if pollinating cranberries is the goal, there may be another, better-suited bee.

Consider Anthophora abrupta, or the mustached mud bee, so called because the males use a pheromone-soaked mustache to woo females in the spring. [...]

Mustached mud bees are truly as American as the cranberries they may someday be used to pollinate. These native bees live in dry clay walls and cliffs, not in hives. The adults fly during early summer; the rest of the year, they live inside nests. They look like small, fast-flying bumble bees.

Unlike honey bees, whose reproduction is a privilege for the queen, every solitary bee female has a chance at motherhood and the work of gathering food. They are called mud bees because females build chimneys of mud at the nest entrances. Mud bees are not as likely to sting as honey and bumble bees.

To conclude, bees with mustaches live in a more gender-equal society, not in spite of their bee mustaches, but because of them.


Sally Hemings said...

I don't extract that conclusion from that report at all...

ß. Andrigon said...

Hey! What do you know about gender equality, Sally Hemings!?

pele said...

Sally, honey, what do you extract? Is it cranberry nectarrr?

pele said...

Slightly less facial beeness on the body.