Bee Communication  (2011)  by Mary

When my young friend and former piano student, Rebecca Beam, read one of our bee entries, she said, "I thought it kind of funny that you wanted the bees to work on the clover, but maybe they decided on the wild mulberry bushes. It is like they have meetings in the hive about which work assignment is next!  Haha!"

Well, Larry and I have since read that maybe they do! According to the article, most pollinators flit from flower to flower and place to place, gathering as they go. However, it is one of the mysteries of bee communication that the forager bees seem to know the purpose of their search before they even leave the hive, and take just the right amount of honey in their stomachs to fuel the length of their flight, plus a bit more to use as glue to bind the pollen together. Then they stay on that source until the food supply is exhausted. Who knew, Rebecca?!

Todd found it fun discovering just where the bees decided to gather on one particular day. He went to his field garden and the first crop of sweet corn was just a buzzing. The corn tassels were full of the male gamete, and the bees were busy as could be until the source was gone. We visited over the weekend, and noticed the second crop of sweet corn seemed ready for the bees, but were disappointed they weren't there. Maybe it was a little early, or they were still depleting another source. 

Corn tassels on the second crop are full of the male gamete.

Below: Our bee book has a picture of a forager bee with its two back legs laden with pollen. They look like swollen, yellow grains of rice. It would be difficult to get a similar picture with our cameras, but Erin was patient and took the following:  

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