Monday, August 24, 2009

Evening Primrose in Bloom

The evening primrose is a nighttime blooming wildflower. While I have observed it being worked at dawn by honey bees foraging for pollen, it primarily attracts other pollinators. I have seen flies, moths, butterflies, and solitary bees working evening primrose early in the morning. Luna moths, the size of small birds, work the flowers at night. Click on the picture to see a blue orchard bee foraging for pollen in an evening primrose blossom. The fast flying and gentle blue orchard bee strikes the flower hard and then scrubs its body around inside of the blossom. Its active movement inside the flower makes the blue orchard bee an effective pollinator. The native blue orchard bee carries its load of pollen on hairs on the lower side of the bee’s abdomen.

The current research program that the USDA is funding to study bee health involves both honey bees and other pollinators. Bees that are not honey bees, called non-apis bees, are being established in managed arrangements at each of the seven bee yard locations in the nation-wide study. The purpose of this study of these non-apis bees is to determine if there are cross infections between the species. Bumble bees are being sampled to check for stress and, hopefully, increase efficiency of their use as pollinators. The investigators are also studying the effects of the neonicitinoid pesticides, like Imidacloprid, on the non-apis bees. They are looking into the sub-lethal effects of these pesticides and any effects caused by their residues. The non-apis bees, like the blue orchard bee, serve an important role in helping to pollinate flowering plants. They help the honey bee complete the pollination required to produce fruit and seeds for wildlife and humans.

1 comment:

  1. hi richard

    just stumbled across your blog today. in observing the evening primrose that blooms during the day in the shade of my lilac trees, i noticed that honeybees can't seem to land on these flowers. they hover at the flower and throw themselves gently at the stigmas. have you ever noticed this? thanks.