Bombus pensylvanicus – American Bumble BeeBenSpark Photo: Loaded for Bear
The other day I was sadly wishing Wingnut was here while I slowly went through my feeds. I came upon this photo (above) by BenSpark. It brought my feed reading to a sudden stop because of those two yellow sacks on the bee. BenSpark calls them pollen sacks. The photo jogged my memory because of my bee shots from Sunday morning.
In my photos, I saw tantalizing bits of yellow blobs on the bees. I hadn't known what these yellow blobs were because they were so small. BenSpark's photo showed me that I had taken photos of pollen sacks on my bees. That was exciting for me.
But what do bees do with pollen? I couldn't remember. Bees pollinate flowers, but I thought the pollen stuck to their body from one flower to the next. Obviously bees don't pack pollen up in little bags on their legs so that they can toss it about on the next flower as if they were at the bees' Mardi Gras.
The next three photos are mine and, when clicked, will open in a new window so that you can see them full size. Each photo has a glimpse of a pollen sack.
Today I took the time to learn about these pollen sacks.
At Burning Silo: Blog Archive: the bee’s knees I learned that:
Bombus bees collect pollen and have hind legs which are formed in such a way that pollen can be packed into wide or concave surfaces which are usually surrounded by stiff hairs. This pollen collecting area of the leg is referred to as the corbicula. The above photo gives some idea of the shape of the leg if you examine the small bit of pollen that has been collected and is adhering to the left hind leg. When the legs are more fully loaded, the pollen will be quite conspicuous, as in the next photo.
But what do the bees do with all that pollen? Burning Silo continues to say that there are two kinds of bumble bees: those that collect pollen and those that don't.
Being the unfocused academic that I am, it took me a couple hours of messing around with bumble bee nomenclature, photos and body parts before I slapped myself and said "Wikipedia!" and there it was:
Bumblebee – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Like their relatives the honey bees, bumblebees feed on nectar and gather pollen to feed their young."
So BenSpark, Burning Silo and Wikipedia: thank you!
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