Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Happy Pollinator Week!

Bet you didn't know that this week is National Pollinator Week.  Initiated and managed by the Pollinator Partnership, National Pollinator Week is designed to raise awareness about the growing crisis of declining pollinator populations worldwide. The Pollinator Partnership does all kinds of other great things to support and promote healthy pollinator populations.  For example, they publish regional planting guides that offer plant lists of pollinator-attracting plants, as well as tips to create healthy pollinator habitat.  

I've planted a lot of flowers over the past year, and I've been amazed at the diversity of pollinators present in our yard.  Here are some of my favorite bumble bee pollinators:  

This one is a fuzzy, little yellow bumble bee which frequents raspberry plants. Maybe she is a Bombus mixtus?   (There are many bumble bee species, but she seems to resemble other Mixtus specimens).  

Another prolific bumbler in my yard is what I believe to be a Bombus Melanopygus, or the "red rumped" bumble bee.  This one is especially fond of columbines.

I see this bumbler all over a large white shrub that grows on the side of my house, too (if anyone knows the name of this plant, please do share!  The bees are nuts about it).  

Finally, there's the big, comical Bombus vosnessenskii, or "yellow faced bumble bee."  This one is HUGE and loves clover.

Bombus vos also loves the prolific lithodora plant growing in our front yard.  I often see her in the morning, flying back and forth between the clover and lithodora.  She starts out a bit slow-moving, but speeds up as the day warms.

The other morning, I discovered a Bombus vos covered in dark blue pollen from a poppy, moving quite slowly, almost as drunk (I really wish I had a shot of this bee, it was incredible).  It was cold, so that may have been a factor, but I also wonder if poppy pollen has any of the opiate elements often associated with poppies.  In any case, you can see why blue pollen is so very appealing to bees.  If I were a large bumbler, I'd want to roll all over the stamens of this plant.    

Here's a shot of the blossom the bumbler was rolling around in- all the pollen on the stamen is gone, presumably carried away by our dear Bombus friend.

Happy Pollinator Week!

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