Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sunflowers & Bumble Bees

This post is dedicated to my dear friend Martie (the Taos Sunflower).  I never look at a sunflower without thinking of her!  

I have some "volunteer" sunflowers growing in my little vegetable garden.  I think the chipmunks might have had a paw in that.......

The sunflowers don't interfere with the tomatoes or zucchini, so I let them grow because my goldfinches, cardinals and chickadees love sunflower seeds! (plus it's free seed!)

Since I don't use any pesticides, there are lots of bugs in the garden too.  They don't seem to bother my veggies or flowers much -- the birds do an excellent job of the "insect extermination" chores for me.  And I count on the bees to complete all pollination activities so I can grow lots of tomatoes.  Mr. Bumble Bee takes this task very seriously and as you can see, he's already picked up quite a bit of pollen today!

Tomato blossoms are OK, but Mr. Bumble Bee knows that he can get the biggest "bang for his buck" on the multiple blossoms of this sunflower!

Look at him go!  Making his way around the entire flower!

By the time he was ready to fly away, he had collected so much pollen on his back legs that he could barely fly!  He really had to work at getting up some speed for the journey to his pollen storage facility.  (What do they do with that pollen anyway??)

Finally got the landing gear retracted and he's off!  Good-bye Mr. Bumble Bee!  Thanks for allowing me to photograph you.  You're welcome back anytime & bring your friends too!  It's a short summer season here in Minnesota and we have to enjoy these flowers while we can!


Mama Pea said...

Wow, you captured some great pictures!

My beekeeper husband says the pollen is taken back to the hives where it's put in cells and fermented. This fermented substance is known as "bee bread" and it's what young bees are raised on.

RuthieJ said...

Thanks for the bumblebee info Mama Pea!

Jayne said...

What a great series of photos my friend! Wow, just look at those pollen sacs!!

Gaelyn said...

Nice shots of Mr Bee Yellowlegs.

Mollie said...

I love sunflowers! Like you said, besides being so cheerful, birds and bees love them. And I've never seen a pollen-laden bumblebee before. Really fascinating. Thanks for the share, Ruthie!

Taos Sunflower said...

Ruthie: Those are amazing photographs. I wonder how he/she/it gets the pollen off it's legs? A little shake? (The bee version of the hokey pokey? LOL) Thanks for the post, it's hard to be around sunflowers and not be smiling! XXX

RuthieJ said...

Thank you Jayne. The long camera lens was nice to get close-up pics of the bumble bee without getting into its space.

Thank you Gaelyn.

Thanks Mollie. I had a bunch of sunflower seeds that I was going to plant this spring, but never got around to it, so I was glad the squirrels helped me out by planting these. I usually try and let all the "volunteer" sunflowers grow wherever they happen to sprout.

Thanks Martie. I wonder about that too. And where do they have their hive? I guess I need to try and learn more about bumblebees! I'm just happy to see that the pollinators are doing their job so well in my backyard. :-)