The European Honey Bee

European Honey Bee Apis mellifera

Too often we consider this our most important bee without considering that it is a species introduced back in the 1600s. This is the generalist commercial pollinator bee that lives in colonies. The male worker bees have a barbed stinger but die after stinging.

Too Cute to not appreciate for all that they do!

World Views: Insects and People

Polemonium reptans
Jacob’s Ladder
Metallic Green Bee

This year I discovered Jacob’s Ladder. Actually I bought the plant and once the flowers appeared, followed by lots of insects, I fell in love. Just over a foot tall with an abundance of flowers to entice the honeybees, bumblebees, carpenter bees, mason bees, cuckoo bees, Halictid bees, Andrenid bees, Giant Bee Fly, butterflies, skippers, moths, and aphids – of course! Not to shabby an assortment for those tiny flowers.

Polemonium reptans
Jacob’s Ladder
Strong back light

Jacob’s Ladder turned out to be rather pretty when I photographed it against a light box. The details and colors were pretty and a bit elegant for this dainty native wildflower.

Polemonium reptans
Jacob’s Ladder
Ultraviolet Light
What many insects, birds, and mammals see

The Visible Spectrum humans see is very limited in range compared to what other species see. Human sight is in the 380 to 740 nm range while bees are between 300 to 600 range. The ultraviolet light I used was rated at 365nm.

It is always a surprise to see what the plants will look like under ultraviolet light as there is no way of knowing until the image is on the computer. I wore protective yellow eye goggles and had to use a best guess as to how long to shine the UV light and leave the shutter open for.

The Common Eastern Bumble Bee and the Nodding Onion

Common Eastern Bumble Bee approaching the Nodding Onion

The bumble bee and assorted relatives pollinate the luscious fruit, appetizing vegetables, and vibrant flowers we have all grown to love.

The magic of the Nodding Onion encompass the range from an edible addition to our foods, treatments for colds and respiratory illness, and a treatment for infections, sores, and swellings. Nodding Onion is dainty and pretty as well as a repellent for moths, insects, and moles.

Nice addition and asset to any yard and garden.

Finding Love in a Nodding Onion
Sweetness found!

Why is it humans see themselves as the sole asset to Planet Earth?

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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