Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bizzzy Bees

In the garden today I have blooming black and blue salvia, brown eyed Susans, beard tongue, inpatients, geraniums, honeysuckle, hosta, periwinkle, hydrangea, Stokes' Aster and trumpet vine. You'd think with this banquet the bees would be all over everything. Nope, today they're just loving my dalhias, helenium and cone flowers.

Honey bee on a dahlia.
Bumble bee on the left, honey on the right.
I think these flowers look like they're wearing a colorful Mexican skirt.

They love this plant, helenuim.
I like it too, the center looks like a brain.

Cone flower or scientifically know as echinacea.

Something has been munching on the petals of the flowers this year.
There are 50 species of bumble bee found in North America. Unless you're a queen you only live during the warm season. Near the end of summer the queen starts to lay unfertilized eggs, these hatch into drones. Fertilized eggs are female and become new queens. They mate with the new drones and fly off to find a winter home to hibernate in. The drones and workers that are left then die.

More helenium and honey bee.
Honey bees were introduced to North America by European colonists and eventually made their way to all continents on Earth except Antarctica. They live in a hive and have their own community. The queen lays the eggs, up to 1500 a day. The queen bee can sting repeatedly because she has a smooth curved stinger. The workers are always female and gather nectar and pollen to feed the larva. The worker bees also sting but have a barbed stinger that stays in their victim's flesh. While trying to dislodge their stinger they pull out their internal organs and then die. The drones are male honey bees and have no stingers. They're good for one thing and one thing only; mating with the queen. They are helpless and must be fed by the worker bees. In case you think the drone has it pretty good, he dies immediately after mating with the queen.

This honey bee has been very busy collecting pollen, you can see the pollen basket on her hind legs This variety of helenuim have several colored flowers on it, all golden yellow, all orange, half and half and others with just a border of a different color.