Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Bees and Wannabees

 Why do insects visit flowers? Well, there are several reasons. This bumble bee has tucked himself into a peony to have a lovely nap. When the sun faces the blossom and warms up the ambient temperature, the bee will wake up and begin foraging. This peony is not a great example of a pollen or nectar rich plant. It's too frilly and frou frou, but it makes a luscious sleeping chamber. Don't you wish you could crawl up inside a fragrant peony blossom?

 This is a bumble bee sipping nectar from an aster at the Simon Fraser school garden. You can see her tongue getting right into the florets to sip the sweet liquid.

The blue-eyed widow grass was bereft of bees. Hmmm. I guess that means the nectar wasn't flowing at that point.

 A cabbage butterfly sips nectar from a strawberry flower.

 Another bee sips nectar from a chive blossom. Wonder what that tastes like?

 Look at the orange pollen on the legs of this bumble bee inside a Geum avens. Her suitcases are packed!

 Another reason insects visit flowers is to mate. While weeding the garden we observed two ladybugs "making hay" while the sun was shining.

 Here's a small native bee scrambling for pollen inside a perennial poppy.

Here is a  photograph of what appears to be two bees mating on a tree trunk. However, since honeybees mate with the queen in the air, and bumble bees mate on the ground, I'm guessing these two are flies who mimic bees. It's hard to tell from the photo, but I think these are Bombilious major. Wait a minute . . . I see that online photos of those flies show them mating back to back! I guess these must be some form of syrphid flies. Ach! Where's an entomologist (with a macro lens) when you need one?

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