Wednesday, April 8

Bees And Birds

9th April
I’m getting a lot of flak from The Director, he says that I’m giving the impression that it’s all studio filming here. So, lets get this straight, most of the filming is outside, mostly nearby but some of it involves packing up a car and driving for an hour or so.

These kind of trips usually need two people – a camera person and an assistant, sometimes, someone gets the short straw and has to take me out with them. I’m good at all sorts of things but I can’t get the hang of camera stuff or technology and all the cabley/connector-ey/knobby stuff that goes with it. I only get picked for camera assistant if there is no other option.

Recently, The Director had to take me with him to film the relationship between solitary bees and bee orchids. We drove the car as close to the spot as we could and then fought our way on foot through scratchy bushy stuff the last few miles uphill to the filming location.

Loaded with unwieldy cases, tripods and rucksacks, we decided not to completely empty the vehicle – that would’ve been silly, we just made a couple of trips carrying as much as we could. As the day wore on, if a different tripod or lens was needed, the assistant would run back to get it.

Insects really hate being breathed on so you need to stay as far away as possible for them to keep doing their thing - as an assistant you can’t really see what’s going on.

It wasn’t until I saw the material being logged that I realised what had been filmed that day. When the male bees hatch and emerge blinking into the sunshine they’re not sure what a girl is exactly - like excitable boys they experiment with the nearest likely object. The bee orchid, growing cunningly near the bee colony, has a flower that is a bit like a female bee, the male bees snuggle into them and rub themselves around while the orchid plants yellow deeley boppers of pollen on their heads. After a while the male bee meets a real female, then he feels a chump for having been fooled earlier and he doesn’t visit the orchids quite as enthusiastically any more, but by this time he and his mates have pollinated the orchids ready for another year’s April Fool.


  1. Lulu you're so clever at making it all so bloody fascinating!
    i love the image of those newly emerged boy-bees.
    silly boys!

    (an aside- why don't you try wearing the cocktail apron more? you're bound to get chosen more often as an assistant if you're sporting that.)

  2. Ha! The boy bees are tricked into doing the right thing!

  3. Mother Nature created sex dolls long before humans thought of the idea. But wait a minute, how come all the females are getting serviced? I thought only the queen got laid.

  4. But isn't there a danger that male bees will get used to the ersatz orchid experience and be disappointed when they come face to face with an actual female bee? Kind of like some boys who've been through the boarding school experience...

  5. Tsk. Female impersonators, whatever next?
    Anyhow, I have THIS bee in my garden, very small and fluffy, but fun to watch.

  6. It's the long evolutionary line of failed orchids I feel sorry for. The lonely, unfertilized losers who looked a bit like senna pods or staplers.

  7. If you did the voice over from your own notes on some tv nature documentaries, I would sit and watch, giggling it's true, but at least I'd watch.

    I'm now looking for an excuse to drop 'deeley boppers' into a conversation - with an expat obviously; the Bretons already never understand me.

  8. No, Lulu, I never went to a boarding school and am very glad about that - I would not have thrived. Except as Basil Fotherington-Thomas.

  9. Frenchie - I'd do voice overs for a giggle
    Aren't the Breton's France's Kevin and Perry? I thought it was their job to be misunderstood

    Gadj - Isn't Basil Fotherington-Thomas your real name? I could've sworn we'd met at a masked ball n Bavaria.

  10. The orchid is the "whore" in whoreticulture. It will do whatever it has to to get its pollen out there. They are so commonplace now, you can even buy them in supermarkets. Cheaper than roses. Shame. I liked it when they were rare, exotic and expensive.

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  12. TP - why don't you try wearing the cocktail apron more? you're bound to get chosen more often as an assistant if you're sporting that.

    The lacy bits would tear terribly on the bushes and make me even more of a whiny pain than I already am.

    xl - Shame they need to be tricked though eh?

    Mr Bananas -
    I thought only the queen got laid.

    You're confusing this lot with 'social insects' the sort of bees, ants and wasps who live in nests all together. The bees featured here are 'solitary bees' they do live in a sort of colony but they are all individuals, each female will make a burrow or find a hole where she will lay her eggs

    Gadjo Dilo - have you been to boarding school? You sound as though you're speaking from experience...

    Scarlet - that's a moth (Humming Bird Hawk Moth)
    YYeeuuch - And I am completely wrong about that as I have just had another look and read the comment about it which is completely true - Whoops

    Brother Tobias - that's made me feel really sad now

    Alphawoman - Typical male response
    Did you mean Brother T or the bees?

  13. Daphne - As for orchids I liked it when they were rare, exotic and expensive.
    they should've taken a leaf out of our book

  14. having a reductio ad absurdum mind I got to wondering about frog orchids...

  15. i read that as if y'all were doing a voice over, sguar! ;) xoxox

    (been working on a commercial heah)

  16. I got to wondering about frog orchids...
    Kevin - mmm I think I can see the movie plaing in your mind there

    Do you have one of those 'whiskey and honey' voices savannah?

  17. This filming could sound like an insect form of dogging, or at the least dogged determination.

    I realise that my insight into the world of the insect sex life is now rather more than I thought possible. I'll keep my eyes closed when I'm in my back garden - don't want to breath on them.

  18. I see the similarity with inflatable women, and I see why the orchid needs to appeal to the bee's sexdrive in order to reproduce... but who benefits from men being fooled by plastic androids?

  19. Ah, I suppose that would be the company that produces sex dolls... the more they sell, the greater their chances of survival. Same old same old!

  20. Can I stop using insect repellent and breathe on the little buggers instead?

  21. Mme DeFarge - crumbs, I'd never thought of it as a form of dogging. You've made me view our activities in a whole new light.

    Deborah said...
    who benefits from men being fooled by plastic androids?

    I think the girls benefit ...

    MJ - Has the party started over at your's yet? I think if you get everyone to exhale in unison there'll be a good chance of exterminating the insect populaton thereabouts!

  22. BTW very nice to meet you Deborah

  23. My party starts on Sunday.

    Bring the camera crew.

    Oh Hai XL!

  24. Pull to the short straw of Edgar Allan Poe (The Adventures of Arthur Gordon Pym), or as on the famous rafiot of the jellyfish!!?

    And wander somewhere. ..There where the puppies pollinate the orchids, and the men reply to the female bees to the condition that they have a size of guêpe???

    Provided that honey is extra!

    Joyful Passover, Lulu

  25. Mj - will there be chocolate fountains?

  26. Crabbers - Les chiots ne sont pas permis vers ici, dommages par ce que j'adore ces petits bétes (au vin naturellement)

    Joyeuses Pâques à toi aussi

  27. I found this totally fascinating - in kind of the unfortunate "Someone Like You" why where I may come up with A Bee Theory about men and women's interactions...

  28. Deirdre - indeed - one might deduce that no evolution has happened at all n'est ce pas?


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