Sunflowers are feeding bees

Sunflower in full glory

Sunflower in full glory

Presenting the big-ass sunflower that was just a tall weed that I hoped was a sunflower about a month ago. If you look close enough, you might see the bee on its face. And what’s the bee here for?

Three bees on a sunflower

Three bees on a sunflower

Same as these three. Same as the bees on the Virginia Creeper. The pollen. There’s lots and lots of pollen for hungry bees.

Green sweat bee on sunflower

The pollen dusting this green sweat bee

Bumblebee covered with pollen

The pollen all over this bumblebee.

Sweat bee gathering pollen

The pollen filling the saddlebags on this little sweat bee

Sunflower pollen on a sunflower leaf

The pollen falling down to the leaves.

But unlike the Virginia Creeper, there’s a different assortment. There’s bumblebees, of course. There’s the occasional Agopostemon virescens, the green sweat bees I’ve been seeing all summer. The most common ones are the little Halictus ligatus, which I’ve only recently identified, but have been seeing since I started the hunt for little bees. The ones I haven’t seen on the sunflower are honeybees.
Where did they go?

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4 responses to “Sunflowers are feeding bees

  1. Love the photos! Beautiful! I love the photo of the little sweat bee filling her pouches with the pollen just beautiful! And the one with pollen dusted all over it 🙂

    Save the bee, save the world!

  2. Thank you! If you like pollen-covered bees, look for the squash bees.

  3. shirley collinwood

    Hi, we have a plant just like this in our garden and my husband insists it is a sunflower and I say it is a giant weed that looks like a sunflower. Am I wrong? Is this really a true sunflower plant. I can’t tell from your remarks if it really is or isn’t a true sunflower.

    • A weed is just a plant growing someplace you don’t want.

      The sunflower in these pictures was a volunteer, probably planted by a bird dropping one of the black oil sunflower seeds from the feeders. Depending on the variety, sunflowers can be anywhere between two to twelve feet tall. This one was about six feet tall.

      Ornamental sunflowers have been bred to be small and colorful, and usually don’t offer any nectar or pollen to the bees. Not plants I want.

      But your garden is going to be different from mine. (It’s probably a lot neater!) It’s up to you and your husband to decide whether your sunflower is in the right place.