The sunflowers in my front yard edible landscape bloomed this week. This has made me ridiculously happy. They really are a joyous flower. I planted the variety Sunseed, specifically because it is a heavy seed producer. Once the seeds start forming, I will have to cover the heads with a paper bag if I want to harvest any of the seeds (sorry birds and squirrels). Until then, I am soaking up their yellow goodness. Apparently, I am not the only one. As soon as the petals started to open I began to see a new variety of bee in the garden which seems especially enamored with the sunflowers.
This bee is distinguished by very long antennae. It is smaller than the Honey Bee, fuzzy like a Bumble Bee and darts around the flowers, making it very hard to take photos! I also noticed that the bees were not collecting pollen on their legs.
|This bee also likes my Rudbeckia.|
Long-horned Bees are native solitary bees that live in burrows in the ground. The male spends it's life as a bee gigolo looking for females to mate with. The female collects pollen to make a pollen ball which she places in a hole in the ground with a fertilized egg. This ball sustains the larvae until it is reaches maturity and leaves the nest..
Long-horned Bees love sunflowers and in fact many sunflower varieties are dependent on this bee for cross-pollination.
My garden continues to surprise and teach me. I have learned so much through researching the insects I see pollinating my flowers. The interdependency within just my little ecosystem is fascinating and it underscores how important natural and planned landscapes are in urban and suburban environments for providing wildlife with food and habitat.
Have you noticed that different pollinators favor certain plants?
See you in the garden,