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Tiny bee loses her pollen

You think pollen collecting is simple, right? But no, like everything else in life it has discouraging moments. Here a little Lasioglossum bee decides to take a rest. She alights on a flat leaf and promptly loses her load. Bummer.

Apparently, collecting pollen from a slippery leaf isn’t as easy as rubbing it from a flower’s anthers. After cleaning her antennae, she circled the little pile then flew away, leaving her groceries behind. I think I heard a sigh . . .

Lasioglossum-loses-her-load
Lasioglossum bee loses her pollen load. © Rusty Burlew.

Comments

Kellie Becket
Reply

How DO you get these shots?! They are amazing.

Rusty
Reply

Kellie,

You wouldn’t want to know how many hours I spend on my hands and knees crawling around in the underbrush . . .

Mary P.
Reply

Rusty, again, if it weren’t for you and your gentle lessons and observations, I would still think that if something isn’t a honeybee or bumblebee, it must be a wasp or hornet. Your photos are always amazing – thanks so much for sharing them with us.

Rusty
Reply

Thanks, Mary. I love doing it.

Brynn
Reply

I second what Mary said… to me before finding this website there were mostly honeybees, bumblebees and everything else fell into a vast category of wasp/hornet.

The subtlety is so intriguing. Love your photos and they have really encouraged me to stop and take a closer look at the insects around me. Oh and the website itself is hugely helpful with beekeeping and I recommend it to everyone. (As in, don’t ask me… go to honeybeesuite)

Rusty
Reply

Well Brynn, you just made my day. Any time I can get one person to notice a wild bee—or to care about them—I feel like a success. And they are so cute . . .

Myrna Warren
Reply

What a great picture of the little bee losing her pollen on the leaf. You have a great sense of humor. I thought it was so funny for the comment “bummer” and then the little sigh as she flew away without her load. I consider your site the most informative and interesting of all the sites with honey bee information. We put out one of those flower pot looking bait hives and had a swarm in it within a week. Now we will see what it involves to get the “free bees” moved into a new hive box along with their neighbors (2 other hives).

Rusty
Reply

Myrna,

I’m glad the traps are working for you. I manage to make up any winter losses with those traps every year. So cool.

Ellen
Reply

Enjoy reading your observations so much. I think the other species of bees are starting to come into their own. The University of New Hampshire recently hired a bee specialist to be part of their faculty and she is already attracting lots of attention for her “bee hotel” and talks on all varieties of bees.

Marie
Reply

Did she collect the pollen back up?

I am thinking she wouldn’t because it isn’t in their nature to collect up a pile of pollen off a leaf….but I could be wrong.

Rusty
Reply

Marie,

No, it was still there the next day.

David
Reply

I wish I could get people around me to stop and notice the wild bees gently and diligently pollinating their flowers. They can’t help themselves but to go and spray round-up on their beautiful lawn flowers during mid-day when my bees are attempting to do their job. It always makes me sad when I see someone zipping around on their mower, or strolling through their yard with those weed killers right in the middle of the afternoon while all the community bees are at work!

Rusty
Reply

David,

I agree. So sad. People try to create an image of perfection, and it is dead wrong (pun intended). Future generations will hate us for what we did to their environment.

Glen B
Reply

Maybe the social bees rose to where they are because they have pollen baskets — they can get all the groceries inside without spilling and making a mess between the store and the front door.

Rusty
Reply

Glen,

And humans rose to where they are because of plastic shopping bags . . . oh wait, we don’t have those anymore. And yes, I have made a mess between the store and the front door. I think you’re on to something.

Nancy
Reply

Well, I didn’t get a picture – not of the bees anyway. But on my recent, possibly once-in-a-lifetime, hike of the Grand Canyon, at the damp shady upper end of the Bright Angel trail, there were fragrant yellow-flowered bushes in profusion, and the unmistakable chorus of foragers.
All the other hikers indulgently veered around the older woman cooing with delight to find that the bees – about the size of honey bees – were in fact a wild species, with furred faces and a shovel-like pygidium – very similar to the Andrena bees you posted about here, not two weeks before my trip!
Imagine setting out to marvel at towering cliffs of Paleozoic rock, and finding such a tiny marvel on a pathside shrub.
Nan

Rusty
Reply

Nancy,

I love this. I love it when people notice the native bees. Good for you!

Chantal Chopin
Reply

Dear Rusty,

Me too, I love your blog. On the subject of pollen, I have noticed that quite a bit of pollen falls through the mesh floor of my hive. It is a bit heart breaking considering the amount of work required to collect it and bring it back. I am wondering if this is a problem for the bees. This year, some balls of pollen are enormous and it is sad to see them on the floor.

Rusty
Reply

Chantal,

It is normal for the honey bees to lose some of their pollen pellets, so I wouldn’t worry about it. But I agree . . . I hate to see them do all that work for nothing.

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