Apis whatevera

On Friday, it was a gorgeous enough day that my kids should have been playing outside while we waited for Kiddo#2 to finish her horseback riding lesson. But Kiddo#3 and Kiddo#4 have gotten into the habit of turning the interior of the minivan into a play-place. They played in the back while I sat up front and knit.

In the middle of the chaos, I looked up and found…a bee.  But not really a bee. I couldn’t recognize it at all, because it was gold.

Not yellow. Gold.

I took a beekeeping class. Moreover, I recognize most of the insects we get here in the Swamp because I get to see them so often, but this I’d never seen before, nothing like it. Nothing.

It had the head, thorax and abdomen of a honey bee. It was covered with hairs, though, giving it a bit of a fuzzy look. It glimmered gold.

It had landed on the windshield right in front of me, and I leaned forward to get a better look: that cunning head, the tremendous eyes, the clever mouth parts and articulate legs. It was just so stunningly beautiful, this creation so perfect for everything it needed to do — and like I said, totally gold.

I’ve since googled it up. “Golden bee” leads to a lot of jewelry; a gold wasp is not actually gold. I have no idea what that could have been. Maybe a generic honey bee covered in golden pollen, except that it didn’t have pollen baskets. Maybe it wasn’t a bee at all.

But whatever it was, it gave me sixty seconds to enjoy it from behind the glass of my windshield in the parking lot of a horse farm, and I hope I can see it again.


  1. Monica

    Now you’ve got me wondering, too. If there are flowers around the parking lot, you could sit out there with your knitting and casually stake it out!

    1. philangelus

      It’s a working farm, so there aren’t flowers. You’ll find the bees in the clover patches etc, just naturally growing weed-type plants. I’m definitely going to keep my eye out for this little lady again, though.

  2. xallanthia

    A queen, perhaps? Looking around at Google Images, honey bee queens seem to have a lot more yellow/gold on their abdomens than the workers or drones. It’s not super-common, but you can see them out looking for new hives.

  3. crescentgaia

    I’m wondering if Xallanthia is correct about it being a queen. A bee got into our house Saturday night and it was bigger than any bee my mom has seen. I’m now wondering if it could have been a queen and if a lot of hives got destroyed due to the harsh winter.

    I can’t tell you my first hand account. I am deathly afraid of bees. With the account of Saturday, I ran outside to the stoop around 10 pm and yelled through the door that I would come back in after the bee was dead. Sorry.

  4. philangelus

    I’m not sure it was a queen bee because those are usually a bit longer, proportionally. It might have been. But it was really gold, not just yellow.

    Crescentgaia, I know I’m relatively rare by loving and admiring bees. But this one was on the other side of my windshield, so you might have been able to admire her from the inside of the car. 🙂

    1. crescentgaia

      I would have liked that. 🙂 As long as there is a glass or a screen separating me from the bees, I’m okay with watching them. I might twitch a small bit, but there would be no screaming.

      Otherwise…yeah. The freak out is not pretty but it is funny as all get out.