Monday, June 18, 2012
UCD worker wins award for rare photo of bee sting in action
By Andrea Gallo
Published: Thursday, Jun. 14, 2012
A rare photograph of a honeybee stinging a man, with its abdominal tissue trailing behind, was more than 100 years in the making.
UC Davis communications specialist Kathy Keatley Garvey in the Department of Entomology said she has taken at least 1 million photos of honeybees in her lifetime, but this snapshot won the first-place gold feature photo award in an Association for Communication Excellence competition. The international organization includes communicators, educators and information technologists.
Garvey has bees in her blood: As dairy farmers, her father and grandfather kept bees to pollinate their orchards. She said bees have been in her family since around 1850.
Garvey recognized an opportune time to capture this photo when she was walking with a friend. A bee came close to him and started buzzing at a high pitch. She said that's normally a telltale sign that a bee is about to sting, so she readied her camera and snapped four photos.
The images showed the progression of the sting, but the most interesting part was that the bee's abdominal tissue lingered behind, she said.
"As far as I know, nobody's been able to record anything like this," Garvey said. She said the only time she's seen it illustrated was in a textbook.
She said her love of bees led her to create a garden in her backyard so she can constantly observe and photograph them.
"I always see something different in every bee," she said.