Friday, 4 August 2017

Rosebay willowherb

Rosebay willowherb (Chamaenerion angustifolium) is in full flower just now and is a common sight along roadside verges.  In the US it is known as fireweed because it colonises areas burnt by forest fires.  It is popular with all types of bees and both pollen and nectar are collected by honey bees.  Although the flowers are a vivid pink the pollen is blue. Honey bees mix the pollen with a little nectar to pack it tightly in their pollen baskets (corbiculae) so it looks a bit darker.

This is a leafcutter bee (Megachile sp.) which carries the pollen loose on a pollen brush (scopa) under its abdomen so it looks a lighter blue than on the honey bees.

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