12 June 2012
Balm for Bees
This pretty little native bee was making work of this horsemint, Monarda citriodora, also known as lemon beebalm for obvious reasons. It has collected a ton of bright yellow pollen in its pollen basket, but I'm thinking that pollen is not from the horsemint.
See that white patch on the bee's thorax? That's a fine dusting of pollen that is being deposited on the bee by the stamens in the horsemint flowers. Both the pistil and stamen are at the top of the flower, perfectly evolved to aid in pollination when a hungry bee goes deep into the flower for sweet, lemony nectar. The bee gets dusted with pollen and then flies it over to a pistil waiting in the next flower.