02 August 2009

Follow the Bumblebee

With the native plants beginning their blooming,
so too have the visits by the bumblebees.
Here a bee is sampling a woodland sunflower....

....and a purple coneflower.
Bumblebees are major pollinators - very important in crop production.
They can survive in the cooler temperature of the northern climes. They can raise their body temps by a form of "shivering", detaching their flight muscles and moving them to generate heat. That explains why some bees are found buzzing around on the ground in the spring, warming themselves up but unable to fly with the detached muscles.

This is a rather tall, unassuming native plant called the cupplant.

The cupplant is so named for its ability to hold water in the base of its leaves.
Hummingbirds and insects will use this as a watering hole.

Speaking of watering holes, or lack of right now in Minnesota, where rain is much appreciated at the moment. It has been a cool and dry summer to date.

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