Memory of summer: To bee or not to bee! (22)
|Following some feedback I have reposted this shot. < Zoom-zoom-zoom! > Also wish to add an alarming bit of news about bees! Recent reports on unusually high beekills suggest that perhaps cell phones are to blame. Are we ignorantly committing Apidae-cide?|
The bee in this shot is a bumblebee (genus Bombus in the family Apidae )
Here is what "wiki" says about bumblebees:
Bumblebees are important pollinators of both crops and wildflowers.
[*] Agricultural use
Bumblebees are increasingly cultured for agricultural use as pollinators because they can pollinate plant species that other pollinators cannot by using a technique known as buzz pollination. For example, bumblebee colonies are often emplaced in greenhouse tomato production, because the frequency of buzzing that a bumblebee exhibits effectively pollinates tomatoes.
The agricultural use of bumblebees is limited to pollination. Because bumblebees do not overwinter the entire colony, they are not obliged to stockpile honey, and are therefore not useful as honey producers.
[*] Endangered species
Bumblebees are in danger in many developed countries due to habitat destruction and collateral pesticide damage. In Britain, until relatively recently, 19 species of native true bumblebee were recognised along with six species of cuckoo bumblebees (bumblebees that trick other species into looking after their young). Of these, three have already become extinct , eight are in serious decline and only six remain widespread (numerous species of bumblebees live in Narberth, Pembrokeshire, which is known as the "bumblebee capital of all Wales"). A decline in bumblebee numbers could cause large-scale sweeping changes to the countryside, due to inadequate pollination of certain plants.
In response to this, a new organisation has recently been set up - The Bumblebee Conservation Trust aims to halt these declines through conservation and education.
(1)^ Scientists Map The Flight Of The Bumblebee
(2)^ Harman, Alan. "Bumblebee Shortage". Bee Culture, 59. July, 2003.
(3)^ a b Heinrich, B. (1981) Insect Thermoregulation
This flower is not a thistle but knapweed . It is not evident here that it is also attractive to butterflies and later on when seed is available to goldfinches.
Many plants known as weeds are of tremendous food value for birds. Burdock, chickweed, cow parsley, clover, dandelion, groundsel, black medick, greater stitchwort, hogweed, fat hen, knapweed, shepherd's purse, plantains (e.g. ribwort and hoary plantain), stinging nettles, teasel and many types of thistles such as spear thistle and woolly thistle will all provide seeds for birds to eat. Goldfinches will eat the seeds of dandelions, groundsel, knapweed and fuller's teasel (Dipsacus fullonum) as well as thistles (Cirsium sp. and Carduus sp.). They use their sharp conical bill to extract awkward seeds which other birds cannot access. They will also take insects and their larvae.
For an arial view click this.
Here is some more info: KNAPWEEDS, CORNFLOWER et al;
Centaurea is the largest genus of the eastern Mediterranean area, where most weeds originated (1).
Centaurus is the classical name of a plant fabled by Ovid to have cured a wound in the foot of Chiron, one of the Centaurs of Thessaly. Hence the name! Centaurea includes the cornflowers, knapweeds, and starthistles.
They are enduring weeds, possessing ristly seeds that enable them to thrive in such averse areas as abandoned city lots, highways, and swamps. Starthistles and knapweeds are among the most notorious members of this genus. Perhaps the best-known knapweed is Russian knapweed (C. repens L. ), with knoblike heads of purple flowers.
The "knap" in knapweed is derived from the Anglo Saxon word cnaep for top, knob, or button (2).
A common name for cornflower (C. cyanus ) is bachelor button, which was grown extensively in English gardens as a home remedy for inflammation of the eyes and for jaundice.
0. Haughton, C. S. 1978. Green Immigrants. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York.
1. King, L. J. 1966. Weeds of the World-Biology and Control. Interscience Pub., Inc., New York, NY.
2. Jaeger, E. C. 1947.(2nd ed). A Source-book of Biological Names and Terms. Charles C. Thomas, Pub., Springfield, IL.
MORE at: (1); (2); (3) and (4).