The Bees Have a Visitor

Filed in Digital Hunter, Hong Kong Wildlife, Photo of the Day

A while ago, I discovered a wild bee hive near our home and managed to get a few photographs. As long as I didn't get too close to their hive in the base of a tree, they wouldn't feel threatened and I wouldn't be a target. The photos were ok; not great; but ok.

Bee Hive

Busy bees at the entrance to the hive which extends beneath the tree. As long as I don't threaten the bees, they won't attack me. Fortunately, the 1000-candle torch I used to illuminate them did not disturb them in any way although one bee was attracted to the light and kept flying into the torch glass. I eventually turned the torch off and walked away to put an end to the torture that the bee was apparently being subjected to.

At my home in Australia, we have wild bees but they're small and black without the stripes. The usually build their hives high up in the trees, sometimes in the tree, and sometimes in earthen structures on the tree; probably different species of bees.

For a 750x500 version, click here.

A few days ago, I was in the same bush area trying to get photos of a bird I could hear but not see. As I passed the hive, I thought I'd take a look and see how they were going. I was intriqued by what looked like a hornet, flying just above the entrance to the hive, occasionally getting side-swiped by a passing bee. It was very curious to watch because every time a bee came by, the hornet; or wasp, I'm not sure at this point; would outstretch all of its legs downward. It was intriguing and almost funny. Needless to say, I took a few photos and some of them turned out surprisingly well.

Bees have a visitor

The bees in this photo were busy on a leaf at the entrance to their hive while the visitor hovered above. After about five minutes, the visitor left the scene. It was really interesting though, watching the visitor extend his legs outward every time a bee approached.

Note. I almost never crop my pictures and this is no exception. This is the whole picture ;-)

For a 750x500 version, click here.

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5 Responses to “The Bees Have a Visitor”
  1. Richard Lai says:

    The second picture is of great composition. I am pretty sure it is a hornet - a wasp would have a smaller vertex.

    When you visit them again, make sure you are wearing clothes of bright colours, just in case they think you are a bear trying to steal honey. In fact, I would avoid visiting them during this time of the year in case they haven't got plenty of storage and can get quite aggressive to visitors. I learned all these when I was at my school's Beekeeping Club. :D

  2. sapphire says:

    如果你下次有機會再闖蜜蜂箱時,千萬要小心點。
    我有個朋友夏天在花園做園藝時,不小心被一隻蜜蜂叮了嘴巴附近只是一下;他不但要打針食藥,而且整個星期都要戴上 N95 (口罩) 才敢出街見人,因為他的嘴巴腫到好像 "朱八怪" 的嘴那麼大!!!(真的是那麼大,我沒有 "作大" 來嚇你呀!)

  3. anf says:

    When I was still living in the US, there used to be a bee hive outside the balcony of my apartment.
    At first I didn't really pay attention but one day when I looked, it's became a size of about 6 x 8 inches. I called up the management office immediately and eventually they took it down, however, I was scared of going to sit on the balcony since then...

  4. 蝦米 says:

    你好厲害喔! 要拍這些傢伙真係要好大勇氣, 我就不行, 不要說一群, 讓我見到一隻我也嚇到魂飛魄散! 希望你能拍出更多精彩照片吧!

  5. John says:

    That is indeed a hornet. Its scientific name is Vespa velutina, and it is one of the most common among six species in Hong Kong. It is one of the smaller types, but the most aggressive when its nest is disturbed, and also one of the most efficient, advanced hunters in the insect kingdom. This species frequently lurks around honeybee nests in this manner, and attempts to intercept a bee in flight as food for its young (hence the legs being extended in when a bee appears). Two other species (Vespa bicolor and Vespa affinis) also often do this, but not with the same degree of success. For more info on these fascinating creatures, take a look at my website ( http://www.vespa-bicolor.net ).

    Cheers, John