Bumblebee on Gentian

Greetings, BugFans,

The BugLady was taking a walk Saturday and was dismayed to find closed/bottled gentian in bloom—it means that fall is upon us, and where did summer go? If one picture is worth 1,000 words, this is a long BOTW bonus indeed.

  • Starting to pry…

Some flowers, even when they are in full bloom, are closed. Pollination is no easy task and requires a burly insect. Enter, literally, the bumblebee. This mid-sized model had no trouble with the gentian, though the BugLady watched as a similarly-sized bee-mimic fly tried unsuccessfully to gain entrance. Ms. Bumblebee lands and pushes her way in, head first, and the flower closes again. It’s a hoot watching a gentian that is full of bumblebee—sort of like that proverbial burlap bag full of bobcats. After rummaging around inside, she exits—also head first.

Other bumblebee success stories: The successful cultivation of red clover requires a healthy population of bumblebees; only their tongues are long enough to reach down into the flower. Some smaller bumblebees are able to feed in/pollinate the hanging flowers of jewelweed. They are important pollinators of mayapple flowers in spring. And, as mentioned in a previous BOTW on bumblebees, they can “buzz-pollinate” some kinds of flowers—the vibration of their buzz as they approach the plant causes the flower to release its pollen.

The BugLady