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Rosemary plants grow well here in Arizona.

This time of year, the shrubs are covered with delicate light blue or purplish flowers.

The honey bees visit the flowers in a constant stream of activity.

After watching the bees for a few minutes, you begin to notice the bees have a light-colored dusting of pollen on the back of their head and thorax.

It looks like they've been sprinkled with wheat flour.

Where is it coming from?

To answer that question, check out the structure of the rosemary flower up close. See those "antlers" sticking out of the top of the flower? The ones with the deep purple pads on the ends are the stamens. The purple pads are the anthers, where the pollen is released.

When the honey bee sticks her tongue deep into the throat of the rosemary flower to suck up the nectar at it's base, the stamen catches her on the back of her head and thorax. Like a pad full of powder, the anther dusts her with pollen.

Note:  the photographs are a bit blurry because the honey bees were visiting each flower for only seconds at time.

Have you ever seen a flower dust pollen onto a honey bee?

The rush milkweed is still flowering.

Every once in awhile a high-pitched sound travels through the air and one of these shows up.

If you are brave, get a bit closer.

It's a tarantula hawk wasp, an important pollinator of milkweeds. You can read more about how they do it in a previous post.

These wasps are big and noisy and clumsy.  They seem like flying dinosaurs. You can't miss them.

 

Not far away is a quiet little bee that you might easily miss.

Look at that long antenna.

The bees with antennae almost as long or longer than their bodies are commonly called long-horned bees. They are important pollinators of a number of plants, but their legs aren't long enough to pollinate the specialized milkweed flowers.

Still, they are just some of the many insects that benefit from milkweed flowers.