Tag Archives: Bees and Wasps

Wasps building a nest

Wasps building a nest
Wasps building a nest
Wasps building a nest
Wasps building a nest
Wasps building a nest

Last week, I saw these wasps working on a nest under the eaves of a building. I was curious because the wasps were mostly stationary, almost like a still life painting (top photo). Then another wasp flew in and the ones on the nest burst into life, swarming the newcomer, and bustling about their business.

I went outside with my camera and watched the activity. A couple of wasps flew away while the others continued with their work. Within a minute or two they slowed down until they were again mostly stationary. It occurred to me that this was all part of the process. Wasps flew in with building materials or water. Other wasps received this and used it to add to the nest. When they were done, they waited, conserving energy, until another delivery occurred and the cycle kicked off again.

I waited with my camera and, sure enough, a wasp flew in (at the bottom of the second photo). The others responded, crowding around for supplies, before dispersing to their work sites on the nest. I’ve watched wasps building nests before, and seen a nest grow to the size of a football, but I’d never registered this work and rest cycle before.

Maiapilo

Maiapilo flowers in Hawaii
Maiapilo flowers in Hawaii
A bee forages on a Maiapilo flower in Hawaii

Maiapilo (Capparis sandwichiana) is an endemic plant that requires little water once established and is also salt tolerant. This means it grows well on the dry side of the island along the coast. This of course is also an area popular with humans, both for living and recreation. Consequently, maiapilo is considered an at risk plant.

Its standout feature is the beautiful white flowers, but if you want to see them, bring a flashlight or be prepared to get up early. Maiapilo blooms at night and begins to wilt early in the morning, fading to pink as it does so.

These photos were taken around nine in the morning and the bees were busy exploring and pollinating the flowers. At night though, native moths are the main pollinators, attracted by the white flowers and pleasant lemon scent. A cucumber-like fruit follows the flowers but, unlike them, it is said to have a very pungent smell.

The plant can be low-growing and sprawling, or a more upright shrub reaching 10 feet.

Bees collecting water

Bees collect water from the edge of a pool
A bee collects water from the edge of a pool

I was taking photos of dragonflies over a pool when I realized there was a good deal of buzzing around where I stood. Looking around, I saw a fair number of bees collecting water from the edge of the pool. Luckily, I wasn’t bothering them and they didn’t bother me. I took a few photos and then returned to the futile practice of photographing dragonflies in motion.