The Meadow Blazing Star (Liatris ligulistylis) is an incredible plant for attracting pollinators. I look forward to it blooming every year. The pollen mess all over that bumble is Liatris pollen. White, not purple. Seems odd to me, but what do I know? This variety gets pretty tall – up to five feet. And when it blooms (late summer/early fall), it’s just covered with blossoms – nearly bottom to top. My only criticism of the thing is it moves some even in the slightest breeze – and it’s tough enough finding a bee that will hold still… 😉
Love the eyes and face and tongue on this one. The geranium is called Rozanne® – and I’m not sure what I think about that ®. Guess it’s the way of the world. The geranium is fairly aggressive in that it spreads out however and wherever it can. But it blooms like mad – and persistently. The bees love it. Sometimes, when it’s in full bloom, it’s just throbbing with bee life. Humming. A good one for attracting bees.
Hang five? More like two or three? The Thread-waisted Wasp is an inadvertent pollinator. And at the rate they move around (they’re very hard to photograph), my guess is that they get a good bit of pollinating done. Although they do feed on nectar, they also eat other insects. This one is consuming what looked like a very young grasshopper (for which I shed no tear).
Well, almost a hairy eyeball. But more at: hair between parts of the eye. But first…five eyes total. Three simple ones on the top of the head (called ocelli). And then two compound ones on either side of the head. Although you cannot see the simple ones in this photograph, they’re pretty clear in the shot from Feb. 3.
The compound eyes are made of an array of lenses called ommatidia. And there is specialized hair between those lenses. Some say that the hair between the lenses detects wind direction and speed – which is apparently useful for navigation. Citation needed, I think. Might be a myth. And they sure have a lot of other hair elsewhere… A team at Georgia Tech made the case that the hair keeps pollen out of the eyes. Or, better, allows for collecting and then removing the pollen. That makes more sense to me. And also fits with what I’ve observed (pollen mess/cleaning/grooming). Stay tuned for some shots of filthy, filthy bees.
Here’s the eye in that pic at 100 percent. I won’t often break out a photo, but this was too interesting not to.
Not quite a “hairy eyeball”. But hair, nonetheless, at the intersections of the hexagonal ommatidia.
This one is on an aster. Here in the foothills of the Rockies, asters begin to bloom in late summer and continue until it freezes hard. They’re often one of the last plants making new blossoms as the season winds down. And the bees just love them. Especially the honeybees – as well as some of the natives. They’re a great late-season flower for pollinators.
Notice that she’d gotten into something else before. That larger pollen on her head and back. Looks like maybe a Rose of Sharon or a Winecup?
Parenthetically, I just printed this shot on acrylic at 16″ x 20″. In a word, stunning! Not typical wall art, I know, but wow. It really pops. She’s got gorgeous eyes!
Golden Bumble (Bombus fervidus) on a Giant Larkspur (Consolida ajacis)
Not all that much to say about this one. Just a Golden Bumble ( Bombus fervidus) on a Giant Larkspur (Consolida ajacis). Lots of pollen, though. And interesting how she’s got her head jammed in there pulling herself deeper with her claws. Seems the Larkspur was made for just for that. Normally, I like to include the eye in a bee pic. Seems if the eye is in good focus, it’s a good shot. But this one was compelling to me – eye or no.
In what might be a taxonomic trainwreck, I’m going to tentatively call this one a Sweat Bee. More specifically, an Orange-legged Furrow Bee (Halictus rubicundus). And it’s on a zinnia.
If I cannot identify something (and you’re sure about what it is) – or if I’ve misidentified something and you can set me straight, please click on the Leave a Comment button there on the left side and tell me what you know.
I may have sneaked over to the neighbor’s yard for this shot.
Mercifully short post today. It’s a dirty-faced bumblebee on a volunteer sunflower. I never know where the flowers are going to come up, but they’re a welcome addition to our gardens in the late summer. And the bees and other pollinators love them.
I’ll be in Colorado on Saturday, the 18th of April, 2020 for the 12th Annual Palisade International Honeybee Festival. You can learn more about it on their website: http://palisadehoneybeefest.org/
They also have a FaceBook page: https://www.facebook.com/Palisade.International.Honeybee.Festival/
Looks to be an educational, fun, edifying event. A great way to spend a Saturday. It’s free to attend and will go all day. There will be live music, art, crafts, and other goods for sale – as well as a variety of food from local restaurants and other vendors.
I’ll have a booth there displaying and selling some of my better photographs – mostly of bees. In addition to the traditional matted and framed photographs, I’ll have prints on metal, canvas, and acrylic. I hope you find some space on your wall for a photograph or two… (Note: just picked up my first prints on acrylic, metal, and canvas. Wow.)
Jean Tally, the Volunteer Coordinator of the honeybee festival, has been incredibly helpful to me as I prepare for this event. After years (don’t ask how many) of shooting, this will be my first foray into sharing my stuff. With Jean at the helm, it’s a lock that it will be well-run and worthwhile.
Also, while you’re in the area, check out the Blue Pig Gallery ( 101 West 3rd Street there in Palisade, CO). They’ve got some wonderful – no, stunning – art there from local artists. Worth a stop for sure. Kay Crane, the gallery director, has been wonderfully generous to me with both her time and advice. Have a look. And on the evening of the 17th (the Friday before), the Blue Pig Gallery will be hosting a kick-off reception.
One of the photographs I’ll have to offer there is today’s bee of the day. It’s one of my favorites and it looks really nice printed. It’s a Honeybee on Cone Flower (Echinacea) that I shot last July at the Ogden (UT) Botanical Gardens. (And that’s worth a look if you’re ever in Ogden. They do a really neat job there.)
Hope to see you in Colorado!
I’m not much of a taxonomist yet. Just a guy with some cameras. But I suspect I’ll get better with that over time. This one is some kind of Megachilidae for sure – unsure of genus/species. I’m pretty certain this little one is female (check out her left rear-most leg and notice the corbiculae – the pollen basket. Males don’t have those.). She’s on a Sempervivum (commonly known as Hens and Chicks) bud. Yep, the semps bloom. And they can be beautiful.
This particular bee is really territorial – downright ornery. I cannot count the number of times I’ve been lining up a shot of one bee or another on some blossom and one of these guys has bombed, full speed, into my intended subject. And not to be indelicate (cover the kids’ eyes, please), but the males of this species are, um, pretty adept at non-consensual birds-and-bees stuff – both on an intra- and inter-species level.
Kevin Vaughn has written a very worthwhile book on Hens and Chicks. It’s really accessible and is a good, instructive read if you’re interested in these amazing plants: Sempervivum: A Gardener’s Perspective of the Not-So-Humble Hens-and-Chicks (That’s an amazon link, but any bookseller can order it for you.) They’re really neat little plants and over time you’ll see a number of them in my photographs here.
This site is about bees. But now and then, I’ll post a bonus pic of something else interesting. And today, it’s a Monarch on a Liatris.
It’s a fantastic plant for attracting pollinators of all kinds. Here in the Rockies, it blooms like mad all through August and is often teeming – buzzing – flapping – with life. Interestingly, the pollen isn’t purple, but it’s white. Sometime in the future, I’ll post pics of native bees, honeybees, bumbles, pollinating wasps, as well as other butterflies enjoying the Liatris. Keep watching. And plant one for yourself!