The clichés are true. Bees are busy and they do buzz when they move from flower to flower. My gardening confidence bumps up several notches when they come to town, knowing my pumpkin plants are in good ‘hands.’
I’m terrible at sitting or standing still for long, but find the garden helps slow me down. While standing still, I notice so much more. This morning I saw three different birds in the orange tree, a snail meandering on an orange peel and a group of industrious, shiny black bees.
The standing still part didn’t last long as I followed the bee from flower to flower, snapping as many pictures as I could before the pollinator moved on. Within a few minutes another bee arrived and as I darted from flower to flower, so too did the bees. They make a frantic bzzz sound before landing, then silence as they dip head first into the flower, rolling their shiny bodies in golden pollen. No time to lollygag, they quickly emerge, darting to their next destination.
Pumpkin plants produce several male flowers at the start of their growth. Within a few weeks the female flowers appear. Without those bees, all the flowers would eventually shrivel and die, leaving a healthy but fruitless vine.
What’s that buzz? It’s music to my gardening ears!
You can learn more about the critical role of pollinators at Pollinator Partnership. The site has a fun, downloadable poster as well.