Mama Saddlebags

Common Eastern Bumble Bee
Bumble Bee Mama Saddlebags
Common Eastern Bumble Bee with corbicula on white Swamp Milkweed

One can only wonder at the strength needed to carry 30% of your body weight in pollen pellets held in place by long leg hairs during flight. These pollen baskets are properly known as corbicula. Female bees collect pollen gathered by their body hairs and form pellets by mixing the pollen with nectar that they store in a concave area on the tibia of their hind legs. After visiting numerous flowers Mama Saddlebags returns to feed her offspring. Let’s plant those flowers so the bees can pack those bags and fly!

Green Metallic Sweat Bee with pollen scopa loving my Northern Hi-Lights Azalea

When is a pollen basket a corbicula ? A scopa? A scopa is just another body method of pollen collection and storage. In the Green Metallic Sweat Bee, unlike the Honey Bee or Bumble Bee, the pollen is collected and transported by the hairs of the abdomen.

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