Have you ever thought about how or when insects sleep? Because they are buzzing around at all times of day, you might not have given it any thought. But as nature photographer Joe Neely shows, bees do, in fact, go to sleep. He captured an adorable photo of two globe mallow bees napping in a colorful globe mallow flower. The creatures, covered in pollen, are snuggled together in the center of the orange-crimson bloom in a scene that is almost too perfect to be real.
Neely came upon the two bees by happenstance. “It was springtime, so I and my wife Niccole (both of us are avid nature photographers) went out in search of Mexican poppy wildflowers but the fields were empty,” he tells My Modern Met. They eventually came across a grove of flowers on the side of the road and stopped to snap some photos. “Niccole was looking for the perfect flower and noticed some bees inside one of the orange globe mallow blooms. I hurried over and observed them for several minutes, even after sunset.”
Neely and his wife watched more bees climb into the flowers. “Soon after,” he recalls, “all the flowers on the plant had a motionless occupant in them. They were going to sleep. I've never seen this behavior before. Then as sunset grew darker, one last bee was trying hard to find his own flower but they were all taken so he crawled into petals with this other bee who shifted a little to give him room.”
Realizing that he had the perfect shot, Neely quickly got out his macro photography equipment and snapped a few pictures. “Their blue eyes and the orange flowers contrasted beautifully. It wasn't until we got home that we learned more about them and their unique behavior of sleeping in globe mallow blooms.” Some bees retire to their hives each night, but this species is often found sleeping in the flower that bears their name. And as Neely shows, sometimes it's with a buddy.