Just a few weeks ago, I wrote about bees’ ability to detect the electric fields of flowers. Now, we find even more amazing bee abilities. Apparently, bumblebees can cut into the sides of flowers to burgle nectar from flowers they don’t pollinate. Moreover, they learn this from other bees, mimicking such things as the side of the flower being stolen from. There’s a nice article on this in last week’s Economist , which includes this great line: “To most people, bumblebees are charming, slightly absurd creatures that blunder through garden and meadow with neither the steely determination of the honeybee nor the malevolent intention of the wasp.” The article refers to a primary paper by David Goulson — sorry, I can’t find a link to it.
Bees seem to be a recurring theme these days. I’m nearly done reading *Building Stories* by Chris Ware  — a box full of graphic-novel stories in 14 pieces of very different sizes, which is great (though bleak). Two of the pieces follow Branford, the Best Bee in the World, and his interactions with flowers, God, and confused gender roles. Perhaps the sequel should feature his turning to a life of nectar-stealing crime, lured by the wrong crowd of hive-dwellers.