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Thursday 10 January 2013

Hello Mr Bumble Bee

Walking home from school today we came across a strange, and quite large bug.

Hello little critter. What are you?

We stopped to have a look at it and try and work out what it was. It was about 4cm long and quite fat with a black body and yellow head. At first I thought it was a beetle of some sort until I noticed it was fluffy. That's when I realised that it must have been some sort of bee. A little research on the internet when we got home confirmed that it was indeed a bee; a bumble bee.

It's a bumble bee!

We see bumble bees buzzing around here every now and then, but I'd never seen one stopped still. They fly by pretty slowly so I'd noticed that they're quite black but I'd never seen their detail up close. I had presumed that they all have black and yellow stripes but it appears not. This bumble bee had only one stripe on the very end of its abdomen. I'm not sure of the variety but I believe it may have been Bombus Vandykei which are found throughout Washington and California.

This bumble bee didn't make any attempt to fly away when we approached it. As you can see in the photos below we were able to pick it up on a long leaf and have a closer look. I thought that maybe it was injured and unable to fly however it buzzed away as Ava's friend tried to move it from the sidewalk to a garden bed. In fact, it flew directly towards her face and gave us all a little fright!
Lola was brave and held the bee on the leaf before Ava would have a turn!

Ava eventually got off her scooter and had a close look too

Going cross eyed looking at the bumble bee!

The kids love finding creatures when we're out and about. We see a lot of squirrels around Berkeley but they generally run away before we can get too close - with the exception of the squirrels at the university which are used to people feeding them. It was nice for the kids to look at a creature a little closer - even if it was an insect rather than a cute fluffy critter.

Compared to what we're used to back home in Australia we don't get many bugs here in Berkeley. And the bugs that we do get here are generally harmless unlike the deadly creepy crawlies back home! I'm not going to complain about that! I think we've had one fly in our apartment the whole time we've been here and maybe two tiny spiders. In comparison, we had jokingly named our house back home "Ants and Spiders" due to the sheer number of both that were living on our property!

P.S. I must apologise for the quality of the photos. They were taken with my iPhone and the kids wouldn't keep the leaf still!


  1. That is one big bumblebee! And is that really the old purple boots that Milla used to wear? Are they still fitting? That is amazing. I'm glad you had some use out of them. They were always our favourite boots!

    1. They certainly are Milla's old boots :) Thanks! Ava has been wearing them for almost a year now. Surely she must be about to grow out of them! As you can see they're getting a little worn but they've been great boots. Ava is really hard on her shoes so they've been resoled twice since she's had them and I recently resprayed them as the colour was really faded (almost white!). It looks like she's about to wear through the toes so we might not be able to pass them on to Lola like I'd hoped. Maybe I should invest in a new pair :)


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