Where the sun smiles brightly on shallow waters and life seems to spring from everywhere the humble field thistle stretches it’s spiny leaves skyward. The sweet aroma of nectar draws all who seek the taste of nature’s ambrosia. The small bumblebee lands softly on the downy tuft above the thorns. From below, a Goldenrod Soldier Beetle’s armor pushes aside the thorns as it climbs towards it’s treasured prize. I watched trough my lens as the two insects meticulously sorted through the purple strands. They nearly collided several times and when the finally did face each other what ensued was a short game of patty cake played with antenna. I had to giggle slightly at first and then I wondered if this was some insect form of a secret handshake. The latter is most likely the truth. An insects antenna is a highly acute sensor array capable of receiving complex information. in an instant massive amounts of information was exchanged and rechecked. Both creatures are solitary beings who don’t normally share a space. I’ve actually observed sparing matches between bumblebees for control of the same territory. But here are two insects with the only thing in common is the flower their feeding on. Knowing that insects are living chemical factories and that beetles especially are masters of chemical signals I wonder if the little soldier beetle was able to somehow camouflage it’s scent? Regardless of the reason how these two decided to share they did in fact go back to feeding together in peace. Is the soldier beetle a Jedi master able to trick the bee into ignoring him? Or was it as simple as a conversation between bugs?
“Hi, I’m a Goldenrod Soldier Beetle but everyone just calls me Leatherwing.”
“Nice to meet you. I’m a bumblebee but everyone thinks I’m a small carpenter bee. “
“Cool, let’s do lunch.”
Either way, it would be great if we could take a lesson from these insects and just get along.
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