Aha! Finally spring has sprung and the first bees are emerging. Colletes inaequalis, the Cellophane Bee, is the first bee (that I know of) to emerge in my region. I know where a nest site is, and I love to take photos there in early spring…despite the fact that it is adjacent to a bus stop. As they come and go, people eye this weirdo crawling around belly in the dirt, taking photos of apparently barren patches of soil.
Sometimes people at the bus stop ask me questions, and this time a particularly inquisitive student came up to ask, “Excuse me, who are you? What are you doing?” which proceeding to lead to a long discussion about research. She said, “I was told that’s not a good idea because you can’t make any money doing research.”
“Er, I guess that depends on how you feel about money,” I replied, “I’m laying in the dirt taking photos of bees, so I’m clearly doing what I love. I don’t care about money.” This seemed like a novel idea to her…she was wearing designer boots and a tailored jacket. We stared at each other across an incommunicable barrier.
But she was excited to learn about the bees, which line their nests with a plastic-y type of cellophane that they make themselves. They are definitely cool bees, bringing people together from different worlds.