TDIF (thank dog it’s Friday)! Welcome to this week’s edition of Nature Friday. As always, we’re joining that pawsome quartet, blog hosts Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard to see what’s going on with Mother Nature through the eyes of Blogville’s finest. Be sure to click on the link to check out what others are sharing.
This week has been a heat lover’s dream. For six days in a row, the temp has exceeded 90ºF. All those lush lupines are beginning their final hurrah. But no fear, garden pollinators are still enjoying them.
Yesterday morning I noticed a bumblebee slurping at the lupines. Did you know bumblebees have over 250 species in the genus Bombus and are generally found primarily at higher altitudes or latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere, although there are some lowland tropical species that have been identified in South America. Unlike honeybees, bumblebees have the ability to sting repeatedly, but they generally ignore humans and other animals.
Most bumblebee varieties are traditional social insects which form colonies containing a single queen, although their colonies tend to be smaller than those of their honeybee cousins.
Bumblebees have rounded bodies covered in soft hair making them appear and feel fuzzy. Their coloring which is known as aposematic (i.e. warning) coloration, consisting of contrasting bands of color. In our garden, the traditional black and yellow bands rule. Female hind legs are modified forming a pollen basket, a bare shiny area surrounded by a fringe of hairs, which is used to transport collected pollen.
Like their relatives the honeybees, bumblebees feed on nectar, using their long hairy tongues to lap up the liquid. Their proboscis is folded under the head during flight. This lady must have been on a real bender judging by her tenacious drinking of the lupine nectar.
Watching this female was quite zen inducing. She buzzed from one floweret to another, making sure she got every drop of that delicious brew. I sat and watched her for quite some time as she industriously went about her work. Notice the orange-ish pollen bucket?
Bumblebees weren’t the only visitors yesterday morning. Shortly after the bumblebee moved on to another part of the garden, I heard this guy buzzing about. Not sure what kind of bee it is, but it was noisy and frenetic with its pollen search. He’s kind of hard to pick out so the area where he was at has been enlarged for easy spotting. I’m guessing some kind of wasp. Not my favorite garden visitor!
But pollinators weren’t the only things we discovered this week. On yesterday’s early morning walk, we came across this mega dandelion seed head. It pretty much stopped me in my tracks. It was so fascinating to focus on the spines that hold the actual seed. It was a good 3-4 inches across. There’s gotta be a boatload of prospective weeds in this single plant!
Whatever you end up doing this weekend, we hope you are able to get out early to avoid the heat and be sure to wear sunscreen and keep hydrated. It’s gonna be a scorcher here and through next week as well so we’ll be getting out at sunrise to avoid the heat or hanging out in the shade seeing what nature offers us next. Have a great weekend!
Live, love, bark! 🐾