Sunday, April 20, 2008

Bumblebees in Daffodil Tents

We've had a cold spell in Powell River for the last week, even a few snow showers. The other morning I went out early to my floating garden to check on my recently sprouted veggies. As I walked around, I stopped to admire my daffodils in full bloom. When one of them started to buss at me I did a double-take.

Deep inside the centers of several flowers were bumblebees just waking from a cold night's sleep. As the sun crested over Goat Island, it's warming rays reached the bees inside their daffodil tents. They moved from inside the flowers to rest on the outer petals. I watched one bee as he stretched his legs one at a time as he woke to the day ahead.

The bees in my daffodils looked to be Orange-belted Bumblebees (Bombus ternarius). The queen builds a colony underground starting in early spring. The bees I saw may have been the first workers to hatch and forage to support colony expansion. Bumblebees are important pollinators so they are a welcome addition to my garden. -- Margy

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We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy