Honeybees and Goldenrod

Last week, tightly clenched goldenrod buds appeared everywhere, suppressing their yellow but hinting at good things to come. I've been told that the nectar flow from goldenrod is one of the major honeybee forage sources in this area. Its appearance, like the blue jays calling, is also a signal that here in the Northern Catskills, summer has shifted into low gear for the steep decline toward autumn.
Two days ago, the goldenrod started really showing its stuff. And today, of course, the honeybees were on the case. This girl is plunging her proboscis into the flower's nectaries, and has packed a modest amount of goldenrod pollen on her pollen basket (located on her hind leg—a.k.a. the bee's knee).As this honeybee travels from one goldenrod blossom to another, she'll continue mixing pollen with saliva and then packing it into the basket. (Unlike other bees and pollinators, a honeybee will continue working the same type of flower, continuously, with different individuals working "monogamously" on various types of flowers at any given time. This week, along with the goldenrod, the bees seem to be mainly working the thistle, knapweed, and burdock.)

This honeybee has packed her pollen basket nice and full.
Here's a closeup of the pollen basket filled with a load of protein-rich pollen to fortify and sustain the hive.


Ngaio said...

These are beautiful photos Gerry !! I have just discovered your blog and will keep returning - its great !

Anonymous said...

What an amazing picture of the pollen basket on a bee's hind leg! I work at a science museum and would love to use your picture to show visitors how bees carry pollen, giving you full credit, of course. Please let me know if that is alright with you. You can contact me at nnolan@mos.org


Nina Nolan