Cosmos: a multipurpose bee flower
I planted two different types of pollinator seed mixes this year, not for the bees to tear up, but to provide pollen and nectar. Both the mixes contained cosmos varieties that grew tall and strong.
At first, I noticed only bumble bees and honey bees nectaring on the blooms, but almost immediately I saw big arcs cut out of the petals. “Who’s that?” I thought, ready to blame some other type of creature. But then I began seeing leafcutting bees—at least three different species—all over the flowers. They are shy, so you have to sneak up on them and pretend you don’t have a camera.
It just so happens that capturing a leafcutting bee cutting a leaf was one of my photographic goals for the year. But in spite of the ragged flowers, I cannot find one bee in the act. Lots of males drink the nectar, and lots of females collect the pollen, but so far they won’t carve a petal in front of me.
So if you’re taking notes on these things, you can try planting cosmos as a leafcutting bee attractant. I’m putting it on my list for next year. Till now, I never thought of cosmos as anything but a nectar and pollen plant, but who knew?