Honey bees don’t like tulips, right?
You don't plant tulips to attract bees, and you don't attract bees with tulips.
They prefer such bee friendly plants as lavender, salvia, catmint, sedum, cherry laurels and tower of jewels—not to mention fruit, almond and vegetable blossoms.
But last weekend, a lone bee—probably a confused lone bee—buzzed around our tulips in the back yard and then dropped inside to roll in the pollen.
She stayed inside the tulip for about five minutes. When she emerged, a layer of gold dust clung to her.
Bees don't like tulips? This one did!
The honey bees are hungry.
There are fewer flowers blooming this time of the year, so the bees are foraging for what they can.
This morning the bees were all over the lavender (Lavandula) in our yard. One bee, packing red pollen (probably from rock purslane), glided in, strapped herself to the lavender, and sipped the nectar from a floral "cup."
The bees are a little testy this time of the year. They're foraging for their winter stores as the days grow colder and shorter and the floral supply fades. "Honey bees don't forage when it is cool, below around 50 degrees," says bee breeder-geneticist Kim Fondrk of the University of California, Davis.
To help support the declining bee population, it's crucial to offer the bees a year-around food supply, and that's exactly what the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee friendly garden planted next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at the UC Davis, will do. A public open house is scheduled June 19.
Meanwhile, it was Red Letter Day today as the pollen-packing bee made her rounds.
Pollen-packing honey bees dangling from gaura (Gaura linheimeri) are a joy to photograph.
Gaura, native to Louisiana, Texas and Mexico, is a long-stemmed plant with a burst of pinkish-white petals that resemble whirling butterflies.
A member of the Onagraceae family (think primroses, fireweed and fuchsias), it's a perennial that needs little care.
Gaura! Gaura! Gaura!
Quick! How many legs does a honey bee have?
If you said "three pairs" or "six legs," you'd bee right.
But have you ever noticed the honey bee in flight?
The worker bee packs pollen in her pollen baskets or corbiculae, located on the midsegments of her outer hind legs.
The legs are fringed with long, curved hairs that hold the pollen in place. Once she's gathered pollen, she moves it to the pollen press located between the two largest segments of the hind leg.
The pollen press basically presses the pollen into pellets.
Sometimes the pollen load looks as big as a beach ball and you wonder how she can carry that load back to the hive.
But she does.
The bee with the huge pollen load below is one of Susan Cobey's bees. She's a UC Davis bee breeder-geneticist and manager of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility.
It’s like going to the circus.
A bee circus.
When you see honey bees gather pollen from a gaura (Gaura linheimeri), it’s as if they ran off and joined the circus. You'll see hire-wire (er...high-stem) acts, somersaults, pirouettes, cartwheels and cliffhangers.
They teeter on the edge of a petal and then petal-push to the other side. They buzz upside down and then right themselves. They're under the Big Top and then varoom, they've over it.
The gaura, a leggy perennial, is a native of North America and a member of the Onagraceae family. Its butterflylike flowers, pink and white, are drop-dead gorgeous.
The gaura is also known as "the wand flower," "the butterfly bush" and "the bee blossom."
In our bee friendly garden, it will forever be "the circus flower."/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>