prys-jones & corbet



(I) Viola tricolor

only the long hairy tongues
of humble-bees
can satisfy heartsease

(II) To catch a humble-bee

the humble-bee queen
is rather wild & shy
best caught at evening

the trick is to
bend down low
& blow in the hole

(the bees being
sensitive to disturbance
Sladen’s suggestion

is to breathe
through the corners
of your mouth)

(III) They have been known to nest in

a rolled-up carpet
disused armchair
under a lawn-mower
in an old sink
within a heap of coal
under a garden shed
in a cotton-reel
an old cushion
a robin’s nest
a decomposing vole
and one even nested
inside an old fishing-net

(IV) Perfume

males attract
their queens

with fragrant

‘At the end of August 1910, my study was most pleasantly perfumed, day after day by the males in a nest of B. lapidarius that was standing on a table there’


(V) Marking your bumblebee

first cool your queen
in the fridge
for 30 minutes

(please note: her
subsequent behavior
   may alter)

(VI) B. praetorum

in the cool

batic bees

may be
h o v e r i n g


(VII) Emerson's zigzag

'let me chase thy waving lines'

– 'The Humble-bee'







F. W. L. Sladen, The Humble-bee
Oliver E. Prys-Jones & Sarah A. Corbet, Bumblebees
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Poems (Vol V. The Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson)