Positively Charged


A happy bee inside a prickly pear flower

Prickly pears just started their showy blooming in the Arizona highlands. The softest watery pink and yellow blooms open elegantly, sometimes covering flat paddles of the plant in funny looking mohawk-like patterns.  The buds are so squeezed together, the little prayer hands pointed to the sky, you would think they won’t have space to explode, but there is no rush, they take turns to delight the bees, each one opening into a perfect cup.

In “Desert Solitaire” Edward Abbey wrote: “The prickly pear, for example, produces a flower that may be violet, saffron, or red. It is cup-shaped, filled with golden stamens that respond with sensitive, one might almost say sensual, tenderness to the entrance of a bee. This flower is indeed irresistibly attractive to insects; I have yet to look into one and not find a honeybee or bumblebee wallowing drunkenly inside, powdered with pollen, glutting itself on what must be a marvelous nectar. You can’t get them out of there– they won’t go home. I’ve done my best to annoy them, poking and prodding with a stem of grass, but a bee in a cactus bloom will not be provoked; it stays until the flower wilts. Until closing time.”

Ecstatic bees indeed seem to lose their minds in these golden pollen baths. I found this one in a prickly pear down the road, and for a moment I thought it was dead. It moved, and I thought it was just sleeping there on a cool windy day. Later in the season, female bees often kick out male bees out of the hives, since all business is done, and the boys end up spending their nights in the flower tents, under the stars. Older bees hook onto the flowers to die. Some types of bees will send all of their bachelors to the flower party to wait for the females to show up. But this one, in the pink prickly pear flower, was not sleeping or waiting. It was happily wiggling her tail to shake every bit of the pollen onto herself. In her golden sticky coat, she looked like one of those ladies strutting the expensive fur coat in the middle of summer.

Apparently, now we are finding out it is not just the color, the smell, and the nectar that plants so boldly display au naturel for the pollinators. It is also the magnetism! Yes, the positively charged bees are attracted to the slightest negative charges of the flowers. There, squatting over the roadside cactus, my fingers covered in spines, I watched her, this furry magnetic belly, stuck glued in that flower, no matter how much I moved the petals, she’d dig herself out a bit as if to say: hey, look, I am busy working here!; and then she’d drop back into the bottom of the cup, drunk with some mysterious ecstasy.


Wallowing drunkenly inside



About BeeHappee

Where have all the bees gone? Where have all the flowers gone? https://beehappeenow.wordpress.com
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39 Responses to Positively Charged

  1. nicoleaugust says:

    Sometimes in the spring I see the first bumble bees sleeping in the daffodils :).

    • BeeHappee says:

      They do, perhaps on cooler days, “hibernate” for a bit inside a flower before sun is warmer and before they head back. A siesta. 🙂 The cactus flower, however, is somewhat different from anything I had seen, it is so lush with pollen, that bees may just go crazy. Hope your move and everything else are going well.

  2. Bees are so wonderful! 🙂 I have a fossilized bee in amber from the cretaceous. They’ve been around a long time! We need to protect them and care for them!

    • BeeHappee says:

      Bees in amber! Yes!! We’ve enjoyed many fossilized insects in Lithuania, where amber washes up in the Baltic sea still. They claim they had found over 3,000 creatures encrusted in amber. They even have a lizard.
      Arizona has some beautiful bees and tons of other pollinators, like hummingbirds, bats, and hawkmoths, and even the ominous looking tarantula hawks who pollinate milkweed.

  3. Hariod Brawn says:

    A lovely article, Kristina, for which many thanks. I have an Abelia Grandiflora by my front door and it’s such a magnet for bumble bees! I’d recommend them to anyone looking to invite bees into their garden. 🙂

    • BeeHappee says:

      Thank you, Hariod. Abelia looks beautiful! I have a giant rosemary bush in the back, and the bees were feasting on it for a couple of months. I do not see bumblebees here much at all, which were so common in Illinois, but lots of honey bees and wild bees. And honey in Arizona is very tasty, like everything else here, it has less water content, so it is very rich and thick, like molasses. 🙂

  4. This was a lovely read. I almost fell into the flower myself ad got drunk with the bee. And beautiful photographs as well.

  5. Aren’t bees the most wonderful creatures?
    I can thoroughly recommend having a hive. It is mesmerising, even hypnotic to watch them.

    • BeeHappee says:

      Yes, if I am ever lucky to have my own place, I would love a hive or two. We do have Africanized bees here, and sometimes in spring they swarm and can become a little dangerous. Couple weeks back paramedics were called right here in town, two ladies, their horses and dogs were being stung by aggressive bees. People were saved, but one horse did not survive the onslaught. It is almost like a bee revenge for all the abuse they endured. 😦

  6. Bill says:

    I’m thinking of some poor guy, dismissed and tossed out of the house by his wife, who goes to a bar and drowns his sorrows.

    • BeeHappee says:

      That is why I chose to be a Bee, Bill rather than human. 🙂 As Kahlil Gibran said,
      “Go to your fields and your gardens, and you shall learn that it is the pleasure of the bee to gather honey of the flower,
      But it is also the pleasure of the flower to yield its honey to the bee.
      For to the bee a flower is a fountain of life,
      And to the flower a bee is a messenger of love,
      And to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving of pleasure is a need and an ecstasy.”

  7. Scott says:

    Super-interesting, and beautiful poetic words as always.

  8. shoreacres says:

    Well, shoot. I had some photos of multiple bees in some yellow prickly pear flowers, but I can’t find them. I probably deleted them, since they weren’t the sharpest. No matter — your photo shows the fun and frivolity of bee-in-flower wonderfully well. But here’s a question: have you ever seen a bumblebee in a cactus flower? I haven’t. I’ve seen plenty of other bees, and some other flies, bugs, and such. Bumblebees may have other preferences.

    I’ve found other insects, including flower beetles, acting the same way in the white prickly poppies. I do have some photos from those pollen orgies, and I’ll post some eventually.

    The magnetism is something I hadn’t heard of. That really is interesting. I’ve always considered “animal magnetism’ a metaphor, but perhaps there’s more to it than I realized. Wouldn’t it be something if our being drawn to flowers was a bit aesthetics, a bit biology, and a bit geo-magnetic force?

    • BeeHappee says:

      Linda, thank you! No, I had not seen any bumblebees in prickly pears, although it has only been a couple months of spring for me in Arizona, I had not seen any bumblebees that I can recall, unless they look differently here. I will have to pay more attention.
      Prickly poppies are blooming here now, but it has been so crazily windy, that they get ripped and blown down almost to the ground, and I do not see many bugs inside. Our nights also still go down into 30s too, so a bit chilly. Challenging to get any sharp photos when wind is so intense.
      We had known that birds migrate orienting on the earth magnetic fields, and some of the colony collapse theories speculate about cell towers etc. disrupting the bees natural magnetic orientations, but it is fascinating to think that flowers and insects also have complimentary magnetism. It makes you somehow trust nature even more.

  9. barnraised says:

    Gorgeous photos! So, I have to tell you that my daughter calls you Bee Happy like it’s your real name. Even though she knows your name, she says that she just thinks bee happy fits you better!!🌻

  10. smilecalm says:

    happee bees
    buzz together 🙂

  11. What a lovely post dear Kristina.. and We feel very honoured at the moment.. For we have some wild bees nesting now under our garden shed. 🙂
    We just have to make sure we get out of their flight path between both sheds lol.. or they get cranky.. 😉 as we are a sudden obstacle not there before.. Lovely to see Happy Bees.. ❤
    Sending Love your way..
    And I love the colour of the blossom.. 🙂
    Hugs Sue ❤ 🐝🐝🐝

    • BeeHappee says:

      Thank you, Sue! What amazes me, there are about 20,000 known bee species in the world!! Some are so interesting, like leafcutter bees, who build their cocoons of cut leaves! Hope you and bees find friendly talk between your sheds. 🙂
      Peace and Love,

      • Yes, Kristina, we have put some outdoor tomatoes at one end of the gap between sheds and moved a water barrel to the other so we do not forget and walk past where they are flying into their nest.. As our granddaughter often comes to the garden.. Just so we do not disturb them.. I was watching a nature watch programme on TV in the UK called Spring watch which airs ever Spring.. It said an App could be now downloaded helping us identify bees. So I may well do that on my computer.. As these are larger than the normal bumble bee..
        I learnt how to tell male from female with their colouring’s of a certain species.. So all very interesting..
        Love and Hugs right back xxx 🐝🐝🐝

  12. Michael says:

    Loved your writing in this piece, Kristina… especially the boys end up spending their nights in the flower tents, under the stars. A flower tent seems a pretty good place to do some dreaming, really. It was also interesting to think of the bees hooking onto the flowers to die. Something sad and beautiful about that, isn’t there? Makes me think of the bees spending their entire lives in a loving cosmic home, surrounded by forces and nourishment that brings them joy, and then finding a happy place to rest. They have it figure out!

    I can picture them all winter in the hive, getting drunk on the honey memories of spring and summer!

    With Love

    • BeeHappee says:

      Thank you, Michael! I am envious of those “boys spending their nights in flower tents”, too. Interestingly, you wrote about the mid-life developments recently, and my biggest call during this mid-life conundrum has been the call of the Walkabout. 🙂
      Thank you, Michael for your thoughtful comment.
      Love and Peace,

  13. joshi daniel says:

    this is so gorgeous 🙂

  14. Zambian Lady says:

    I don’t drink, but I wouldn’t mind joining the drunken bee! 🙂

  15. badgerkin says:

    That flower – bee magnetic attraction is just Wild. Do humans also carry a slight net charge? Do trees? And sure, there would have to be disruption in these fields by all our communication devices . . . Well, Bee, may your field remain calm and true, and also ecstatic!

    • BeeHappee says:

      Thank you for stopping by. I am pretty sure all life carries something. Now they are saying plants have the same protein that allows birds to feel Earth’s magnetic field. Yes, thank you, I am working on my “field” now. Plowing it, sowing it, fertilizing it. Same to you. 🙂

  16. Very informative and will follow up about bees and magnetism of flowers. I find it interesting that many different pollinators focus on certain flowers for a while and then disappear. Good to find your blog.

    • BeeHappee says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words, and I am happy you stopped by. The bees (and other pollinators), and incredible Arizona spiders too, completely fascinate me. We have these beautiful buzzing hummingbird moths that come out at night and pollinate all night bloomers. Beautiful synchronicity.

  17. Wow — is this a lovely piece of writing! I’ve always loved bees, and this is a beautifully fitting piece!

  18. lovely to see your little Bee Logo Kristina.. Hope all is well with you… Love and Hugs x Sue xxx

  19. EA says:

    I enjoyed this post so much! I love birds and bees and pollen and light, every scrap of evidence of the energy at work in the world. Thank you!

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