Thursday, July 23, 2009

Miscellany

Peacock warming himself

Watching a queen bumble bee - probably a second hatching - this morning on the snapdragons, it is fascinating to see how the weight of a heavier queen bee compared to the small worker bees of the brood manages to manipulate the somewhat difficult flower petals of the snapdragon. A snapdragon is well named, childhood games of picking the flower and snapping the 'mouth' of the individual flowers was something I remember. The bumble bee however has to force her way into the petals of the flower, pushing the lower lip down, and having the upper petals on her back, thereby brushing the body with pollen - a good pollination technique that is seen in many flowers.
Growing flowers for bees, and the great range of hover flies (they imitate both bees and wasps) is useful for the vegetable and fruit garden, my apple trees and soft fruit are always covered with fruit because of the early flowers in the garden. Hoverflies are of course good for getting rid of aphids as well, there are just under 300 different species in Britain, and almost impossible to name or identity.
There appears to be plenty of insects round this summer, the nurseries are full of them, so although it appears very windy all the time, the flowers both natural and cultivated have plenty of creatures to pollinate them.


hoverfly on Cosmos


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