I popped out in the garden at lunch time, armed with my little Canon Ixus, and found it was all go on the bee front. The header flower, Helianthus Capenoch Star was proving very popular. I’d only bought it the other day, to go in the back of the flower bed that I said was ‘officially full’, and it is still in its pot, waiting for a slightly cooler moment to plant it out. In the meantime, it is being much visited. But then that goes for most of the other flowers: zinnias, cosmos, liatris, doronicum, echinacea, rudbeckia, and the self-sown purple toadflax. So many happy buzzing souls.
And then there was also the hoverfly:
Well they look like pagoda roofs to me. But the other interesting thing is that these bumble bees are breaking into the flowers through the rooftops, drilling into the nectar stores at the end of the flower tubes. This, I learn, is a habit of short-tongued bees, stealing the stash from the long-tongued bumbles (Bombus hortorum) who usually visit columbine flowers more politely, using the front door.
Roof Squares 17 Please drop in on Becky – for a very novel roof, and a brilliant round-up of everyone’s roof offerings
I’ve written quite a lot about bees on this blog, and in particular the threat of neonicotinoid pesticides to which, researchers suggest, bees become addicted (see Bee-ing Bee-Minded), so I am hugely pleased to find so many bees feeding on my untainted raspberry flowers. Nothing like the sound of happy, busy bees and the sight of all those raspberries in the making. Thank you bees.
copyright 2018 Tish Farrell
Up at the allotment the globe artichokes we did not eat earlier in the summer are flowering, and the Red-tailed Bumblebees think all their breakfasts have come at once. In fact they’re trying to scoff them all at once too. The flower, after all, is a VERY BIG thistle. This makes me wonder if the huge expanse of ultra-violet attractant doesn’t over-stimulate the foraging impulse, thus explaining the manic bee rootling that has them scrabbling, bottoms up, through the petal forest to reach the sweet stuff beneath.
Those with longer legs seem to cope best, but I’ve already had to rescue two. They seem to become mired in the petals. Either that or they’re simply spaced out on the sugar rush.
Macro Monday over at Jude’s
The opium poppies that have been growing behind our sheds (aka the old privies) are on their last gasp now – one or two blooms amongst a phalanx of seed heads. But there’s still plenty of bee forage along the fence – pale mauve spires of spearmint, purple tufts of wild knapweed, the oregano coming into flower.
And there’s also much to entice them inside the garden.
These ornamental strawberry plants have colonized the gravel path. I might have to move them at the end of the summer. They definitely have world domination in mind. And although they make tasty Alpine type strawberry fruits, the blackbirds always seem to get to them first.
Purple Toadflax is another bee favourite, and it also grows itself around the garden.
And finally, here we have a bee in clover, wings all of a dazzle in the midday sun:
Now for some really good close-up photography, please buzz off to Jude’s Macro Monday
It was every bee for itself over in the poppy patch behind the garden sheds this morning: the apian equivalent of a supermarket trolley dash. Honey bees, little brown bumbles, dinky stripy bumbles, blooming big scary bumbles and white-tailed bumbles diving in for the poppy nectar while the air all round filled with happy bee hum. Some were feeding with such speed and voracity that their baggage compartments were definitely approaching the overloaded mark. Now and then they would take a feeding break on the poppy’s crown while they dusted themselves down and redistributed the pollen cargo.
The gathering technique is also fascinating. They dive into the base of the flower and speed round beneath the stamens, feeding on the nectar while every part of them hoovers up pollen from the anthers. Even with the biggest bumbles, once they get into their stride, all you can see are the stamens ruffling round like curtain pelmet tassels in a stiff breeze. Whoosh, and it’s on to the next feeding station.
I probably don’t need to say it again to those who follow this blog, but then no chance should be wasted. The wellbeing of our planet, and of humanity, and of the continued production of much of our food depends on protecting and nurturing bee populations any way we can. Masses are being killed off by pesticides and habitat loss. So loud applause for the opium poppies that came of their own accord to our boundary fence, and are doing their bit for bee world. Rah! Rah! Hurrah, poppies!
Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Details
Today over at Lost in Translation, Paula’s Thursday’s Special theme is minuscule, which is a word I often have problems spelling because it comes in two versions, and that then leads me to make up my own. Anyway, I instantly thought of pollen grains, which made me think of bees, and of the small busy world of pollen gathering that goes on all spring and summer, mostly unnoticed by us humans. And so since I believe we cannot think of bees too much or too often, given the valuable work they do for us, here’s another bee snap.
I am also grateful to Pauline at Memories Are Made of This, who in today’s post also has bees on her mind, for reminding me a few a weeks ago in one of her comments that Granny’s Bonnets is another name for columbines or aquilegias. So there you have it – bumble bee in my Granny’s Bonnets, but not in my actual bonnet, although my other half would often beg to differ on that statement.
copyright 2015 Tish Farrell
Thursday’s Special: Minuscule