Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring Flowers = Spring Pollinators

It was difficult yesterday not to notice the front yard crabapple tree (probably a Prairie Fire) which was ablaze in red and pink. Also noticing and attracted to it were hundreds of bees, ranging from very small bees to a large bumblebee or two. The bee pictured above is probably a mining bee (family Andreninae), but I have no experience identifying them. Notice the amount of yellow pollen grains as well as the hairs on the bee's thorax, abdomen, and legs which make her entire body a pollen collecting tool. This bee will visit many flowers of many plants and "share" some of the pollen thereby pollinating them, a wonderful example of mutual benefit in nature. The mining bees burrow in the ground, laying their eggs in small chambers along with a ball of pollen and nectar for the hatched larval bees to feed on. This image is worth clicking on to open the full resolution version in a separate window.

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