Friday, June 15, 2012

The Other Pollinators

     Since becoming a beekeeper I have become acutely aware of the importance of pollinators in the world today.  In our garden in Vancouver we are fortunate to have a number of native pollinators like the butterfly above that seemed particularly taken with the rhododendrons.

     I've had difficulty identifying all the different native bees in our garden but fortunately this one showed me it's big, orange butt.  This would be Bombus Melanopygus or the Orange Rumped Bumble Bee.

Bumble Bee enjoying a wild rose
     One aspect of bumble bees I have noticed is that they appear to have much thicker hair than our honey bees.  This may be why they can fly in colder temperatures earlier in the spring than apis mellifera (European Honey Bee).

     Honey bees are the best pollinators because of sheer numbers but individually bumble bees are superior.  I have found it more difficult to photograph bumble bees because of the short length of time they spend at each flower compared to honey bees.  Visiting more flowers and a capacity to carry great quantities of pollen (as shown above) make the bumble bees excellent pollinators.  The use of bumble bees to pollinate some commercial crops is becoming more popular.

     The insect above is possibly a resin bee (Anthidiellum Notatum) on a yellow bearded iris.  Below is a picture of my favourite native bee, the Orange Rumped Bumble Bee dining on a cranesbill geranium.  How can you not love a bee who's distinguishing feature is it's orange butt.

     Louie Swartzberg is considered a pioneer of high-end time-lapse cinematography and his film "Wings of Life", the hidden beauty of pollination is both fascinating and stunningly beautiful.  It reminds us of the hidden beauty that exists all around us.  As Louie states "beauty and seduction are nature's tool for survival because we protect what we fall in love with."


  1. Rose-Marie LarssonJune 23, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    Happy to hear about the superior work habits of the thick haired bumble bees. I learn something every time I check in at your blog. The wings of life clip i stunningly beautiful. Thanks for posting!

  2. Your welcome. Glad you are enjoying it. "Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever."
    Mahatma Gandhi


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