My name is Dr Margriet Dogterom and am the founder and owner of Beediverse. I write this blog for all who love bees and who want to learn more about these wonderful creatures.

Bee attractive plants

After warm temperatures in early spring, quickly followed by a cold spell lasting a good two weeks,  the sun is finally out again.
Bees are busy foraging. Here are a few pictures of what I saw on Kale flowers.

In the past, people have asked me whether male mason bees forage and pollinate.  I presumed they do some feeding on nectar because they would need to be energized over the two  week period that they are around.  Males probably don’t do very much pollinating or moving pollen around from one flower to another because when they arrive at a flower- they do it without much movement over the flower.  Today I took picture of a male mason bee drinking nectar out of a flower.

Male mason bee getting energized by drinking some nectar.
Note long antennae and white hairs on front of face.
Native leafcutter bee feeding on pollen and nectar.  Note stripes on abdomen (Family Megachildae).

 

Another tiny bee (6 mm/1/4″ long) busy feeding on nectar and collecting pollen.

 

Here on the west coast of British Columbia, my favourite flower came out in abundance.  It is a wonderful plant that provides both pollen and nectar to bees when there is little else for them to forage on early spring.  One day, this beautiful plant will be encouraged in lawn and gardens!
Dandelion flowers
In this field, many dandelions provide an abundance of food for bees
in early spring before apple blossoms appear (apple orchard in background).

You can’t beat this plant for being ready with nectar for early spring bees.  Here on the west coast of NA, the early blooming pieris is in bloom.  It is a hardy plant, great to have around the house.  This morning I saw a fly and a bumble bee feeding on the nectar of this plant.

Today I stopped by a Oliver Woods Recreation centre in Nanaimo (BC Canada).  It is a beautiful facility.

What really took my fancy were the beautiful raised flowerbeds at the entrance to the building.  Very welcoming.  The colours were stunning.  On closer inspection, bumble bees liked this array of flowers too.

At the end of summer bumble bee colonies stop growing and the colony begins to produce queens and males.  Queens mate with the males or drones and then hibernate over the winter until the following spring.  It is important to have well fed drones so they can fly and mate with the queens.  Flowers that provide nectar for bumble bees are a must.  The flowers in these photos are great nectar producers as the presence of these bumble bees indicate.

Most of these bumble bees are males.  Males usually have yellow heads.

This bumble bee is Bombus vosnechenskii

Grow flowers and they will come.

In July/August blackberries bloom and flowers provide great food for bees.  Blackberry flowers are great providers for bees.  They provide both nectar and pollen to bees.  For us, Blackberries are great eating and make tasty jams and jellies.

Blackberries- ready to eat

But watch out!  Blackberries will easily take over and are tough to get rid of because of their extensive root system.

If the hot weather holds, I will be picking more blackberries soon.

More on Himalayan blackberry

On Vancouver Island (British Columbia, Canada) there are all kinds of wild and native fruit that are edible.

When I see fruit on native trees and shrubs, I straight away think that when these plants were in bloom, there were lots of bees in the area.  It is always fun for me to have a closer look.

These photos were taken under a Douglas fir/Pine canopy.  Filtered sunlight and sunlight available along trails and roads allows these plants to grow profusely.

Salal berries. Ready to eat!

Some of these Salal berries are shriveling up from the drying sun.

Red Huckelberries- few, but great tangy morsels for eating

Thimble berry.  A real treat!

A profuse number of Salal berries.  Ready for eating.

Thimble berry flowers are about as big as a bumble bee.  If a smaller bee visits
a Thimbleberry flower and if this smaller bee does not move around the flower, only part of the flower will be pollinated- as in this flower.  95 percent of the flower in this photo is pollinated, but a small strip was not pollinated (seen as a band of unpollinated ovaries). 

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