While honey bees have pollen baskets (corbiculae) in which to carry pollen back to the hive, many native bees carry pollen on the underside of the abdomen instead. The abdomens of these bees are covered with a thick tuft of elongated hairs called a scopa. Instead of packing the pollen into a ball, the pollen […] Read more
I don’t know one bumble bee from another, but this one was striking. The bright band of orange shone in the sun from across the yard. Although it looked too big to fly, it was doing just fine, sampling flower after flower. I took the photos two Fridays back, on April 8.
Texas bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis) are prolific in the early spring and are known for attracting an array of native bees as well as honey bees. This species is one of the five state flowers of Texas, the other four being also in the genus Lupinus. (We’ve all heard strange things about Texans, so we’ll just […] Read more
Bird’s eyes (Gilia tricolor) is a perfect plant for your pollinator garden, planter box, rockery, or roadside. This annual plant is native to California, but will grow in most areas of the United States and southern Canada. The flowers have lavender and white trumpet-shaped petals that come together in a yellow throat, hence the species […] Read more
Baby blue eyes, Nemophilia menziesii, is a native California annual in the same genus as five-spot. It grows to be about ten inches tall, blooms early in the year, and can re-seed easily. In very warm areas it prefers partial shade or filtered sun, but in cooler areas it will do fine in full sun. […] Read more
Pollination saturation is the practice of flooding a crop with an overly-large number of honey bee colonies in order to assure adequate pollination. The practice is used where the crop to be pollinated is either not a honey bee favorite, or when it happens to be in bloom at the same time that other nearby […] Read more
Anthidium is the genus name for the very large group of bees that contains the wool carders. Wool carders are known as such because the females collect fibers by “carding”—or scraping—them from a plant. The female wads the fibers into a ball and then carries them back to her nest, usually in a hollow reed […] Read more