Honey bee and white pollen

June 26, 2015

 

Honey bee in Prom Dress cosmos

 

The honey bee here landed on the cosmos flower and fed on the nectar for a long time.

What is particularly interesting here is the amount of pollen on its head and thorax. And the pollen is white!

 

When I first noticed the bee I thought something was wrong with it, that it maybe had some kind of fungus on it. And its movements were a little slower than that of other honey bees I've observed. But after I enlarged this image I realized that the greyish white stuff on it is pollen, and so much of it that it probably was getting heavy.

 

This bee must feed on nectar for a long time on each plant it visits, collecting all that pollen on its body at the same time.

 

I've never seen white pollen on a bee before, so I did some research to figure out what plant in our neighborhood produces white pollen. And it has to be one of the following:

blackberries = light grey pollen

lupins = white pollen

poppies = grey pollen

basil = white pollen

tall morning glory = white pollen

 

And in some plants white pollen is a mutation, for example in some petunias. In this case, the pollenis sterile.

 

Of all of these plant possibilities, we currently only have basil plants growing in the garden, but they aren't blooming now.

 

So it still remains a mystery where the bee collected all of that white pollen...

 

 

 

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