A Pile of Sleeping Bees

originally appeared on One Minnesota Writer, June 16, 2021

A few days ago, I noticed a whole huddle of little critters hunkered down on a coreopsis flower in our front yard. I couldn’t quite tell what they were from a distance, so I walked up to the garden and gently bent the flower stalk toward me to see what was up. I found a little pile of bees.

At first, I thought they were dead. There was no movement whatsoever when I bent the flower stalk a little more to look on the back.

It was late in the day when I found the bees, so I just left them alone and checked again the next morning. They were still there. They stayed there as I watered the garden, which is something we do every morning right now. Everything is bone-dry in our area, like much of the upper Midwest this summer.

When the little creatures didn’t move from the water I sprayed in their direction, I wondered again if they were dead. I went inside and planned to do some research.
Of course, the bees weren’t dead. Sometime between 8:30 a.m., when I came inside from watering the garden, and 1:00 p.m., when I checked on them again, they had disappeared. I’ve seen still bees nestled in flowers before, just not that many in one flower. My research taught me that the way the bees tucked in their butts and stilled their antennae was what they did when sleeping. I shouldn’t have worried.

Now that I know they have big sleepover parties in our coreopsis, I’m delighted. Our garden is doing its job.

I’ll let those bees sleep in peace.

all photos by kcmickelson 2021