Floral Visitors, bumble bee problem

Åke Nordström Ake.Nordstrom@slu.se
Sun, 02 Aug 2015 11:13:45 PDT
Hi Martin!

I don't know for how long your Mirabilis will keep on flowering, but at the end of the season when the last bumble bee larvae are produced - the ones that are going to be new queens and produce the new colonies next season, I would guess the flowering is over. If so, the new queens will stick to other food sources and will not be able to learn this habit and they can't pass it on to next season and bumble bee generation. Of course, if it happened once it can happen again, but I guess something must have happened to their main food plants this year so this was just a coincidence. Do you know what species of bumble bee it was? Or was it more than one species?

Greetings from Åke in northern Sweden, where the summer is still cold (12-15 C) and wet. 

-----Original Message-----
From: pbs [mailto:pbs-bounces@lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Garak
Sent: den 2 augusti 2015 11:05
To: pbs@lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [pbs] Floral Visitors

Hi Travis.

wonderful pictures and very precise observations here, a pleasure to read. I'm always a bit jealous on your hummingbirds, since there are none in Europe - closest thing is the Hummingbird Hawkmoth, cute little fellows, which increased in numbers around here in the last 30 years when the climate got notably warmer.

Unfortunately, I have more of a problem with my floral visitors here in southern Germany: the bumblebees somehow have learned that the easy way to feed on Mirabilis Jalapa is to bite through the side of the tube and directly drink from this short cut - which then again lets the flower wither and most of the time destroys the style, strongly reducing my seed harvest. I've grown Mirabilis J. for at least 20 years, and I've never seen such behavior.  To make it worse, they now expand this knowledge to other plants: I've found side-entries to Digitalis Lutea and Antirrhinum Siculum, looks like any funnel-shaped flower too tight for bumblebees is under attack. This summer was extremely hot and dry, so I hope they're just desperate and return to normal in following years. this, or I'll have to work without my beloved mirabilis.


Am 01.08.2015 um 19:23 schrieb Travis O:
>   I've uploaded some new photos in a new blog post in my "Floral Visitors" series. Crocosmia and a few Alliums are the featured bulbs (members of the Asteraceae and Lamiaceae, among others, make up the rest). Enjoy:

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