Friday, June 11, 2010
Pollinators rock... agreed? Agreed. So while many have specialized niches they occupy.. like squash bees.. there are also the flower floozies that will do any bloom. One example would be the metallic green sweat bee.
Pretty bugs actually... and I can honestly say I had a pair of shoes in the early 90's that same shade of metallic green. Yes, those were troubling times. I blame the nuns and serious 80's backlash.
The metallic green sweat bee.. let's just call them MGSB are such nectar mongers that it actually makes them wonderfully special. I know my pictures are horribly not in focus, but these bees move FAST. As far as pollinators go.. some have developed specialized hairs on bellies or legs to help them collect pollen to bring back and feed the kids. Often some will have a specialized diet to boot.
A bug's brain is a very tiny brain indeed, but they have their tricks to make the most out of their minds. When you garden.. you can use that to your advantage. People like straight neat rows of plants.. bees like a big patch of the same plant. If you are planting to attract pollinators.. remember that.
Because there is always rebels of the bunch... you get the few that also are a jack of all trades... MGSB fall in that category. They are the primary visitors to the Pak Choi blooms in the picture. They also hit up the spinach, cives, radish, dandelions, morning glories, roses... you get the idea. No color coding needed here.. they will go from a yellow flower to a pink one to a white one in a matter of seconds.
That's great when you are needing flowers to be pollinated for fruit set to be good.. but what a pain in the butt when you save seeds!! So if you have these zealous little beings in your yard, you may want to try to control when some crops bloom to help minimize out crossings of some strains should isolation caging not be an option. Another way to help slow down the chaos is making sure you have taller flowering plants between the crops and space them out as best as you can. There still will be some out crossing, but it will help minimize the percentage.
Here is a lovely bug site.