January 21, 2014
Our mission at Southern Gardening is to show you many beautiful scenes from the garden. These exquisite flowers require a lot of hard work from the home gardener. But there's another gardening enthusiast whose work we often forget about, the bumblebee. Bumblebees are busy little insects that constantly buzz from flower to flower, collecting pollen, and in the process, providing pollination for the eventual production of fruit and seeds. Bumblebees are attracted to many flowering plants. Just look at how many bumblebees are on these Victoria Purple salvia. The flowers are actually a collection of many small flowers on a single stalk. Notice how this bee works each individual flower on the stalk. Another flower that attracts lots of bumblebees are coneflowers. The bumblebees constantly investigate the entire cone before moving to the next flower. Look at this particular bumblebee, which appears to be packing massive saddlebags of pollen on each of his back legs. Perhaps my favorite is this busy bumblebee working amongst Mexican petunias. Notice that he almost disappears deep into each flower searching for pollen. After coming out he grooms himself before continuing his pollen quest. Bumblebees not only search for pollen, but also for sugars. In the fall these bumblebees are attracted to ripe Muscadines. The sugar in the fruit provides energy in preparation for winter and often results in a feeding frenzy. To many gardeners bumblebees seem aggressive and will sting, but they are actually quite passive. Generally speaking, if you leave them alone, they will leave you alone. Rest assured they are an important and necessary part of all of our gardens. I'm Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.