A Lupine Flower With a Guest

Tuesday, July 14, 2020,

That amazingly beautiful flower is called Lupine. I only know that because my friend Sue Avery identified it for me. Sue was also able to explain to me that this is considered a single flower as opposed to several separate flowers. She added that a flower of this type is called a Raceme. Racemes are clusters of flowers that grow from the same base. So what looks to you and I like a pretty bunch of flowers may be entirely different to a botanist. I’m not at all sure that bees care one way or another. JK

JK

This is Not a Bumblebee

Tuesday, July 7, 2020,

This is not a bumblebee. To the uneducated eye – mine – it certainly looks like one. Just look at it. A chubby bee – at least I got that part right – with black and yellow markings. That’s a bumblebee, right? Well, no. Not in this case.

I had sent these photos to my friend Sue Avery. She’s the lady that allows me to sound intelligent when I describe flowers. I’ve mentioned her here before. Not only is she my go to source for flower identification, but she has her own blog, which is beautifully written. I am always in awe of her prose. Sue was able to ID this pretty flower as Bugleweed. It is not a native plant and can be an aggressive spreader. If I sound informed, it is only because I am quoting Sue. Without her help, this post may have been titled, “A Bee on Purple Flowers.” 

But wait, there’s more. Our story doesn’t end there. Three weeks ago, I had posted a pair of photos of a Yellow Jacket. I had posted them on Facebook as well as here. One of the commentators there was able to inform me of the exact species of Yellow Jacket I had managed to photograph. I was duly impressed, so much so that I sent her these photos to see if she could identify what kind of bee I had here. As it turns out, Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann is a professional entomologist and more than knows her stuff. She was able to explain to me that this was no bumblebee. Instead it is a male Carpenter Bee. Its white face is the main field mark that identifies this as a male. The female Carpenter Bees do not wear white makeup.

If I sound the least bit informed, it is only because I have folks like Jody and Sue helping me out. Honest. JK.

 

Yellow Jacket, Fore and Aft

Monday, June 22, 2020,

This is a Yellow Jacket. I was photographing Bumblebees in Kings Park when I noticed this scary looking critter on an old piece of lumber. It seemed to be eating something on the wood, or maybe even the wood itself. I was somewhat hesitant to examine its actions closer. Call me a wuss. I can take it. 🙂

This colorful wasp would spend a few minutes “nibbling” at the wood and then it would fly off, only to return to the same spot after ten minutes or so. This went on for about an hour. When I got home, I did some research and found out that Yellow Jackets will chew wood and mix it with their saliva in order to create a quick-drying pulp with which they use to assemble their nests. Pretty cool, right?  JK

JK