Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Tupper Biology Trip to UBC Farm

Baby onions hardening off, given some tough love before they are planted out in the field.

 A field of kale thrumming with bumblebees.

It's intriguing that there is a species of bumblebee at UBC Farm with this bald patch on their thorax. You'll see a picture of one in my book.

A mason bee house completely full. All the holes are plugged with clay. Each tunnel contains female and male bees.

A bumblebee queen having a beauty sleep with her head inside a cozy comfrey flower. How cute is that!?

A nectar robber caught in the act.

 She uses her tounge like a straw to sip the nectar through holes bees chewed in the corolla.

This large bee probably could sip the way she's supposed to, hanging upside down under the flower, but she is opportunistic, saving valuable energy by simply robbing the nectar. She's got babies to feed! And comfrey refills with nectar every 15 minutes or so. So there's a lot to go around.

 This bee is sticking her head right into the blueberry flower to sip nectar. I noticed some of the bumblebees were more noisy than others, which means they were buzz-pollinating the blueberries, shaking the pollen out of the stamens by hitting a certain frequency. This makes them better at pollinating blueberries than honeybees. Honeybees don't even like blueberry flowers and the pollen is low in nutrition to them. These bumblebees, however, evolved with the blueberries and the pollen is good food for their brood.

An intriguing tree in the forest surrounding the farm. The forest adds to the biodiversity of life on the farm and provides a sheltered environment for growing crops. The forest edge is a hot spot for biodiversity of flora and fauna.

 Usually maple blossoms are high up in the trees and we can't see them. They look almost finished for the season and are actually a really important bee tree.

These trailing blackberries are the ones native to BC. There are invasive Himalayan blackberries on the farm, but they are carefully managed.

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