Tag Archives: Agapostemon

Let the bees eat squash

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It’s starting to look like the mystery plant will be revealed. Perfect round balls are developing ridges. Acorn squash again. Every fall, I keep getting various squashes, but I’m no longer sure how much I actually like winter squash. So  I no long care that I probably won’t enjoy the fruits of the mystery plants. I’m glad enough to see the bees enjoying the flowers.


Will the mystery plant remain unsolved?

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I’m beginning to think we’ll never know what the mystery plants are. The grey weather has descended. Some of the leaves are showing a dusty white rust of doom. But still the various mystery flowers open a bright yellow. Still they are foolish enough to keep setting fruits. And at least one green Agapostemon bee is finding shelter in the flowers. (Maybe some fruit flies, too.) So enjoy the mystery while it lasts.

A day of good bee hunting

I enjoyed hosting today on the Life-Friendly Garden Tour. Nice people stopped by and let me show off my bees. If you’re interested at all in bees, you know about honeybees going missing. If you want to help honeybees, the best way is to keep a hive. It’s not hard, so they say, and it means more bees in your neighbor’s yard. But I want to support the native bees, and that’s even easier.

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Don’t use chemicals (the theme of the Tour!).

Grow flowers (preferably native flowers).

Avoid disturbing the ground (and leave some bare).

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I got nothing but a green bee

All green bee in golden flowers

Never mind the rain, here’s a green bee,

Clad from head to tail in a green sheen.

And here’s where I give up on

Finding a rhyme for Agapostemon.

More coneflowers, more bees

More coneflowers have answered the first coneflower‘s call.

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This is one of the great bee flowers. My trinity of bees — honeybees, bumblebees, and Agapostemon — visit them, methodically going through the spikes of pollen in the centers. When the Halictus bees are done with the sunflowers, they’ll come to the coneflowers too. Together they prepare the coneflowers to set seed for the goldfinches to eat.

And the coneflowers roll on to the next year.

Sunflower weather

Now that the heat has hit, I can barely keep up with the flowers. This sunflower bloomed a few days ago, and today already the flowerhead is busy making seeds. The bees have done their work.

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Traditional varieties of sunflowers are great bee flowers. They give so generously of their pollen, that bees get covered with it, going round and round collecting all that delicious (to bees) gold. The little pollen-covered bee is Halictus ligatus, which I like to call “saddlebag bee”. They have a rare talent for finding the flowers with the most pollen and filling up the pollen baskets on theirs legs so much they stick out like little saddlebags. The green bee is my garden stalwart, Agapostemon. They show up like flying emeralds all summer long.

As for what kind of sunflower this is, I think it’s descended from the black oil sunflower seeds that I feed the birds. Seeds get into the compost, I spread the compost, and in the sunny spots, sunflowers volunteer, year after year. My kind of flower.

More syrphid flies and the prettiest bee

Here’s some more syrphid flies that I’ve seen recently.

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Green bees in the spring sun

Green jewel of a bee on centaurea

I’ve actually been a bit worried about the bees, what with all the grey weather lately. Too cool for most bees to come out. Mostly I’ve seen bumblebees lately. In the last few days, though, the nice and sunny weather is back.  I think I’ve seen miner bees. I’ve definitely seen cuckoo bees. Today, I even spotted my favorite bee, the little green jewel, Agapostemon.

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The bees have arrived on the coneflowers

The full trinity of bees have found the coneflowers. Bumblebees, honeybees, and Agapostemon Virescens. Let’s call her Aggie.

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Bee approved, mystery plant

There is no more doubt about the mystery plants. It’s a sunflower. Several sunflowers, that is. Everything about them says “Sunflower”:  the broad leaves, the flat yellow disks, the mathematical spiral in the centers, the honeybee, the green Agapostemon bee, and more bees to come.

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