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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.

Honey bees do different jobs as they get older. The young bees take care of the brood, and the older bees go out and forage or gather food.

In the fall, the foraging bees don't look too bad.

honey-bee-sunflowerhoney-bee-pollen-basket-251They are still fuzzy and their wings are in good shape.

Now contrast that to some honey bees out foraging this week.

Can you see the dark patch on the back of the thorax? This bee has lost some of her hair.

The quality of this photo isn't the best, but can you see how ragged the edges of this honey bee's wings are?

These honey bees have been in the nest all winter, probably working hard to keep it warm. They are worn out.

Have you ever spotted a honey bee that was worse for wear?