bee forage

Bumble bee on a dahlia in September

Bumble bees on dahlia. © Aram Frangulyan.

I love this photo sent in by Aram Frangulyan of Auburn, WA. The flower is so bright and cheerful, it makes me happy about fall. Aram writes:

Snapped a bumble bee on a dahlia at the Point Defiance rose garden on September 7th. Did not think that dahlias were all that interesting to the pollinators, but apparently some cultivars are attractive enough.  I suppose I’ve picked up the habit of only photographing blooms with insects on them. 🙂

I have to say, I do the same because the insects complete the picture. This one contains two bumble bees, probably Bombus vosnesenskii, although these are hard to distinguish from Bombus caliginosus even with collected specimens. A growing trend is to list them by their subgenus, Pyrobombus, which is the same in either case.

Bee with me . . .

Coming tomorrow is an extended post about extracted honey. It’s longer than any previous post at no additional cost to you, so we will see how that works out. The length is more or less an experiment. Hope to see you then.


  • Single dahlias have always been a part of my dahlia bed as they provide contrast to the other types of dahlias with concealed reproductive parts. But last year I decided to focus more on the single and other open centered dahlias for the honey bees and other pollinators and to begin evaluating them for hobby beekeepers and pollinator lovers. The single dahlias are the first dahlias to begin blooming in the summer and they continue flowering enthusiastically until knocked back by frost. The honey bees go crazy for them and most of them are at the perfect height for viewing. Peter Lindtner in his book Garden Plants for Honey Bees gives dahlias (the open centered types) two stars for pollen and for nectar.

    I also see various bumble bees and other bees and wasps on the blooms and this year the Red Admiral butterfly too.

  • Our honeybees show some interest in some types of dahlias in our yard (large, open, blue flowers) but not in others (red, tubular petals). I was surprised to see them like any since last year I saw no bees around our dahlia blooms.

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