Today we have a bit of a mystery in our sunflowers.
Most of the flowers look like this:
This flower is different:
Yes, there is still a bee collecting nectar and pollen.
But there are some clues that another insect is hiding in this flower as well as the bee.
Any ideas what kind of insect is in this sunflower besides the bee?
The sunflowers are beginning to open this week.
The bees have already found them.
A small bee...
...and a big bee using the same flower.
Do you have sunflowers?
It's time to start thinking about another citizen science project: The Great Sunflower Project at www.greatsunflower.org.
The sunflower project involves growing a specific type of sunflower, Lemon Queen, and recording the types and how many bees come to visit the flowers.
This year the organizers are asking the participants to buy their own seeds because they can not fulfill the orders for the huge number of requests they received last year.
If you are interested in participating, the first step is to go to the website and register. You will find more instructions there and get future newsletters with information and updates.
The sampling protocol has been simplified a bit. This year you and your children will:
1) count the number of flowers on your plant with pollen;
2) record all bees (not just the first 5) your sunflower for 15 minutes; and
3) enter the data online.
Our family participated last year. I have to say I hadn't had much success growing sunflowers before, but these Lemon Queen variety seeds grew beautifully.
We had quite a few bees visiting, although no honey bees.
Did you participate last year?
Let us know, we'd love to hear from you.