Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Curry for Bees!

Bees surprise me all the time and today I learned that bees love curry! What I mean is, long-horned female bees seem to love the flowers of the curry plant (Helichrysum italicum). This plant is named for its scent, not its actual use in curry dishes. It's native to the Mediterranean where the plant is used in cuisine, but I've never had much luck cooking with it. The scent seems to disappear when the leaves are heated. Apparently it is used in the perfume industry to "fix" scent. The leaves are pretty and silvery and as you can see, the blossoms are a lovely yellow color. And these Melissodes bees were tucking in!

I'd pretty much given up on it as a bee plant, but these ladies proved me wrong and you'll find it in an herb plot at the Riley Park Community Garden.

You can see how the flowers resemble the centres of this thread-leaved coreopsis, another Melissodes fave.

It also looks like these pearly everlasting blossoms, another plant that Melissodes bees love to feed on. Does this mean we'll see the same insects that like these plants on the curry plants as well? We'll have to look for hover flies like this on the curry blossoms.

This wasp is nectaring on the pearly everlasting. Will we also see this species on the curry plant? Tune in on Saturday for the answers to these questions and more!

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