I watched this small bee as it circled round the flower, busily filling its already bulging bright yellow saddlebags. We are fond of these little bees, which were introduced to the UK (or perhaps simply spread here) quite recently and have made themselves at home. They are one of two bee species that have chosen to live inside our house. 

The location varies from year to year, but for about 3 months a year over the last few years there has been gentle bee-chatter going on in the roof-space above our bedroom, or in an old wall cavity between 2 rooms.

Bombus Hypnorum - The Tree of Garden Bee (Keith Salvesen)

This year the tree bees decamped to the roof-space above the kitchen; and a splinter colony has recently set up a buzzing plant-produce stall in a cavity above the front porch, no doubt to the surprise of the bats that hang out there.

Bombus Hypnorum - The Tree of Garden Bee (Keith Salvesen)You may have noticed that the bee featured here is carrying a tiny passenger, a mite, that you can see in some of the images (eg the header image). There’s a small story about these photos. I own ‘beloved camera’, ‘unreliable camera’, ‘snappy camera’ and an iPhone. **

Bombus Hypnorum - The Tree of Garden Bee (Keith Salvesen)

When I first saw this little bee, I had ‘unreliable’ with me (‘beloved’ being 125 miles away). It is a martyr to light sensitivity, with an annoying ‘satirical’ take on focus. Reader, I rattled off 20 shots. Then I deleted every one of them. Quickly throwing the camera behind a wall in disgrace, I reached for my phone in desperation to catch the bee at work in the sunshine. Here are the results, with a level of clarity that only ‘beloved camera’ could have matched.

Bombus Hypnorum - The Tree of Garden Bee (Keith Salvesen)

** There was ‘hated camera’ too, a DSLR that I never mastered and eventually sold back to the place I bought it for a fraction of the original cost. They saw me coming…

All photos © Keith Salvesen Photography


  1. I’m impressed! You’re mastering your iPhone very well indeed. These are all excellent shots, Keith. Quite a character, this lovely busy bee.
    “Beloved camera” is possibly a very heavy one and thus left behind?


    1. Hi Dina, yes but an IPhone has it’s limitations! Fine in sunshine / clear light, not so good in low light – and the zoom is next to useless for ‘proper’ shots! ‘Beloved’ is an eBay triumph. I drowned its predecessor by falling in the sea on Abaco photographing birds! ‘Unreliable’ is the next model up. Then I found a new ‘beloved’ on eBay for £50…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When I saw you had commented, I thought you might, very kindly, have been querying my ID (I’m inexpert with bee species)! The A to your Q is, absolutely not. We just let them come and go, and to sizzle away quietly when at home. Occasional single bees get into a room through cracks (it’s an old house) or fly in, but I’ve never had a problem removing one. Pleased to have them – and they love perovska (as do moths). RH


  3. I wasn’t doubting your ID, it’s just that I remember Dave Goulson’s account in his book “A Sting in the Tail” of being chased by them occasionally. He was also the first person to catch one in the UK, in the New Forest in 2001. I am pleased to hear you all get on.

    Liked by 1 person

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