A Bee and Its Flower

Bees and flowers have a lovely symbiotic relationship.  This means the relationship mutually beneficial for both parties involved.

The bees and flowers begin their bonding in late spring into the summer. This is when the bees are most active and the flowers start to bloom. As the bees travel from flower to flower, they pollinate each one. Their body picks up the pollen from each bloom which is then dropped onto each flower that it lands on after that. The bees do not intend to leave any of pollen behind because they are trying to get as much pollen back to their hives.  Pollen is the bee’s food source.

Bees also collect the nectar from the flowers. The nectar is a mixture of the plant sugar and water. This nectar provides the bee with energy to help them continue on their journey to collect pollen. Pollination of the flowers is very important. When a female flower is pollinated it helps process of making seeds.

Here is a list of ten flowers (according to Fafard: Science behind the art’s blog) that are best for bees.

  • Pale Purple Coneflower (early summer)
  • Common Yarrow (early summer)
  • Sunflower (summer)
  • Blue Giant Hyssop (summer)
  • Horsemint (summer)
  • Purple Coneflower (summer)
  • Black-eyed Susan (summer)
  • Aster (late summer early fall)
  • Joe-Pye Weeds (late summer early fall)
  • Golden Rod (late summer early fall)

Extra fun fact: Bees cannot see the color red, they tend to avoid red colored flowers.

BE a BEE Keeper

Bees are an extremely important part of our Eco system.  Their pollination process is essential for the growth of flowers, plants and trees all over the world.

The European honeybee is the most common species, and the only species kept in America. They are just 1 species of 20,000 worldwide known species. North America is home to 4,400 bee species including social bumblebee colonies, solitary tunnel nesting bees and solitary ground nesting bees.

Honeybees are the only insect which stores food in excess.  The colonizing of bees is called bee keeping.  Tending to bee hives requires a lot of time and knowledge.  General maintenance requires periodic inspections during the warm months to make sure your queen is laying eggs, your workers are building up honey stores, and your colony has enough space to expand.

Bees are directly influenced by their environment.  Their behavior and success varies greatly across climates. Management time and style will depend on your climate, your hive style, and your particular bees. All colonies are unique, and each beekeeper will have a different experience.

There are 3 types of bees in the colony: The Queen, the worker bee, and the drone.  The queen is the most important bee in the colony, there is only one.  The queen will lay all of the eggs for the colony, “deciding” when to lay drones eggs, or workers eggs.  Worker bees are sterile females who do all of the foraging, feeding of young, honey production and storage, wax production, cleaning, and defending the hive against intruders.

The only male bees in the colony are drones. Their only purpose is to mate with virgin queens from other colonies. Once they mate, they die successful bees. Unsuccessful drones return to the hive to eat honey and pollen. Once swarm season is over, drones become a drain on resources inside the hive, and are evicted by workers.  Bee keeping is hard work, but rich in reward.  There are many bee keeping groups and clubs that you can join to learn more about the bees in your local area.