30 April 2013

Saving Owls and Bumblebees

The Importance of Owls and Bumblebees

Here is a photo of one of the owls that use to roost on my courtyard walls
of my former home.
The vines that grew up the wall probably simulated a cliff wall and the owls would rest there in the afternoon with the fountain bubbling below.
Sweet Auburn Life wrote about how she plans to help the owls of Ireland.

Then today, my friend Anne in Norway has challenged me to write about bumblebees in Arizona.

There is a town named Bumblebee here, but Arizona's "bumblebees" were actually brought here to pollinate cotton despite the fact, that Arizona has many native, bee species, perhaps as many as a thousand native, pollinator bee species.

Our native bees are mostly nonsocial; they don't live in a hive.  Our native bees, such as the carpenter bees, are pollinators.  If one is unfamiliar with the carpenter bee one might think a hummingbird just buzzed by.  They are large and black with an iridescent blue color.  These reckless, flying giants are male bees that don't sting.  Their female partner builds her larve nest in dead agave blooms. It is best not to cut those twenty foot agave stalks down until the plant and the pollinator complete their life-cycle.  The main agave dies, but the carpenter bees are born, and as are new agave pups.

Our native bees pollinate our saguaros and other native cacti. A saguaro cactus blooms only once a year in May, and if it is not pollinated, it doesn't produce fruit and seed.

There is another desert pollinator, a night pollinator, of the Saguaro;  it is the Sanborn bat that migrates north from Mexico during the spring.  The Saguaros in my photo probably excede ten feet in height, and they possess no arms yet, so they might be only seventy five years old.  If they had large arms they would be close to 200 years old.  In other words, the saguaros are slow growers; the bees and the bats and the saguaros need each other to survive
in our unique ecosystem.

If we lose the pollinators, we lose the cacti.

Below is a photo that either I or my daughter shot many years ago in which bees toss pollen out of Saguaro flowers.
You are welcome to take the bumblebee challenge if you wish.


  1. I don't think people really get the importance of bees. There have been many interesting articles written on this topic but it still seems to go unknown.

  2. Brilliant, Sue! Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the bumblebee and spreading the word. I hope some of you readers are joining in and write about these creatures we are all so dependent on. Anne

  3. I loved that post. I love watching the bees in my garden. I was very surprised today to see that none of them were attracted to the beautiful pear flowers, but so many of them were attracted by the very small green flowers from the red-currant bushes.

  4. I so agree with anangloinquebec. Our bees are a hugely important creation that is a crucial to flowering plant survival. It's easy to ignore those things, but we would be in big trouble if we lost the bees. Great post!

  5. Very interesting bee post :-) I'm not sure how I would react if a bee the size of a hummingbird flew by me! Bees are such an important part of our ecosystem - without them pollinating flowers, we wouldn't have so many fruits and veggies and pretty flowers to enjoy.

  6. What a nice photo of the owl on your wall. I have never seen one except in pictures. We have huge carpenter bees that make tunnels in wood lawn furniture and decks. They are useful but are also bothersome. Glad to know they don't sting because they scare me as they fly by. Informative post.


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