The poppies were beautiful Saturday morning, despite some very strong winds and hard rain overnight. A section of the wildflower bed collapsed because of it, leaving about a foot of exposed space. It was sad to see them all bent over, but the wildflower bed was abuzz with activity, so I didn’t mourn their loss too long. The honeybees were busily collecting pollen, seemingly drunk as they did so. Some of them were absolutely caked with the stuff, and their “pollen baskets” bulging. It was a bit difficult getting good shots in the shade – it was still too early and there was little light next to the fence. I took most of these photos with high-ISO settings so they came out a little grainy and not as focused as I would have liked, but you’ll get the idea!
These are our favorites, with the dark center:
I found this at Wikipedia, regarding a bee’s pollen basket:
The pollen basket or corbicula is part of the tibia on the hind legs of the four related lineages of apid bees that used to comprise the family Apidae: the honey bees, bumblebees, stingless bees, and orchid bees. A honey bee moistens the forelegs with a protruding tongue and brushes the pollen that has collected on head, body and forward appendages to the hind legs. First, the pollen is transferred to the pollen comb on the hind legs and then combed, pressed, compacted, and transferred to the outside surface of the tibia of the hind legs. There, the area of the tibia that – in most other bees – is the location of the scopa is a polished concavity surrounded by a fringe of hairs, into which the pollen is placed, and a single hair functions as a pin that secures the middle of the pollen load. Honey and/or nectar is used to moisten the dry pollen. The mixing of the pollen with nectar or honey changes the color of the pollen. The color of the pollen can identify the pollen source.
We were witness to this act. The bees were literally writhing through the styles to pull off the pollen, then rubbed their back legs repeatedly and vigorously like they were scrubbing themselves. Over the course of an hour, their baskets were brimming! This one barely hangs on as he does the Mr. Miyagi with his back legs.