Fighting Bees???

I love bees, and become horribly upset about anything that causes them harm.  I've went on at length about systemic pesticides and I've worked toward ensuring bees that enter my yard are comfortable here.  Bees are incredible creatures that are worthy of deep respect.

I spend a great deal of time watching bees go from flower to flower, stopping beside puddles for drinks of water, or just resting upon leaves.

Yesterday, however, I saw something odd.

While my daughter and I were leaving the hilled area of the yard so that we could go inside, I saw something fall from the sky and roll... right at my feet.

I stopped and bent down to get a closer look.  What I saw caused me to decend into complete confusion.  It appeared to be two bees fighting, one on top of the other's back.

Strangely, they didn't seem to mind me hovering a few inches above them, literally breathing on their backs. 

Yes, I was that close.

I actually sat down to be able to get a closer look at what was transpiring, and to try to puzzle it all out.  It didn't make sense to me.  Sure, bees fight.  They'll naturally attack another bee that's trying to steal honey from their hive.

But if that was the case, there would be an angry buzzing in the air.  There'd be a pile of bees going after the thief.  Most importantly, there'd be an actual hive nearby!  There's not.  Clearly, this wasn't a defense against a robber bee. 

Even more interesting was the decided lack of buzzing - even from the two that were battling it out.

Some people may think they're mating.

No.  Just... no.  There's only one queen to a hive, and she doesn't go flitting off to visit a paramour, no matter how good that story would be in a Disney film.  So what, I wondered, was going on?

Naturally, I went off to research the matter.  More on this tomorrow, with identification of the 'bad guy' included!