Friday, April 25, 2014
These types of bees like to burrow in sandy hillsides usually clear of tall foliage; often in full sun, though the early species/generations work do full shade just fine because the trees haven't filled in yet. I'm not sure how successful these shaded burrows turn out though compared to ones in full sun. But of course tall grasses and forbs may grow more abundantly on sunny locations.
Here I watched a queen visit the flowers to our gooseberry/currant. It was neat watching her work these small, inconspicuous flowers, when the native plum, apple, and peach trees are all right beside them. She was devoted to visiting each and every flower on this shrub, ignoring ones she already visited. I did see her fly to the plum tree once, but that was very clearly an accident on her part, as she virtually walked right over the flowers in search of the gooseberry she'd been working. Bees are often devoted to the pollen of the type of plant they work because the nutritional value can vary greatly from plant to plant. It's best to raise brood on one type of pollen to perhaps judge the results, or maybe it's detrimental to mix and match pollen types? Whatever the case, this devotion to one type of plant is what makes them excellent pollinators.