LBB (LittleBigBee) has been motionless for well over 24 hours now. We will give him a good send off and return him to mother nature later - after I've taken some macro photos to confirm he is a boy. (The easy way to tell is count the segments on the antennae; though photographing them in sufficient detail is quite a challenge). We had him only for 8 days, though of course he may have been older as his wing-loss looked more like damage rather than deformity. Still, it's such a short life, which seems to make it all the more saddening.
Yesterday my neice, who gave Holly her name, decided that Lucy would a nice name for TLB (TinyLittleBee) - we wholeheartedly agreed, although we have also yet to confirm her gender. And, to be honest, her pattern of behaviour is more male-like.
Something didn't seem right yesterday evening though. It's always been easy to find Lucy in the tub because most of her time is spent exploring the "outdoors" and she goes back into the nest box to rest for a while and then repeats the whole pattern. Always on the move.
But last night we couldn't find her.
This happened before with BLB (BigLittleBee) - he developed a routine of resting under one of the pine cones in the tub. He could get under there so tightly that he was impossible to see no matter how hard you looked. And his buff banding provided wonderful camouflage.
I was certainly convinced there was no way Lucy could be under there. I must have scoured those pines cones with a torch for 15 minutes. In the end, we carefully removed them to check. Lo and Behold! Lucy was indeed tucked right in under there, completely invisible to the outside world. It was great to find her safe and seemingly well, although, in a sense, odd that her behaviour had changed. Although we saw BLB do this and are also convinced that some of our outdoor bees spend the night away from the nest on occasions (either by being caught out by the weather, or some mad last-minute dash to get pollen in the fading dusk), it is highly unlikely that Lucy could be "caught out" in this environment and run out of energy. So why the change in behaviour?
She roused, drank from a daisy-honey-water-combo we placed in front of her, then toddled back to the nest box straight away. In a sense that was a relief, but on the other hand I felt something ominous.
This morning she is not in the nest box; for some reason during the night she has come out again and, I suspect, hidden under the pine cones, summoning all her invisibility powers in the process. We've chosen not to disturb her yet, if she's there, but something is not right. I just sense that something is off-kilter today with Lucy. I can't help but think she is actually a boy and thus destined as BLB and LBB before her.