Bee Cause…! August ?
Most flowering plants have their pollen readily available for any and all pollinators to gather. But some plants are a bit more selective, prudish, even somewhat stubborn about whom they will share their nutritious golden treasure.
We’ve just learned about a pollinating technique called ‘Buzz Pollination’ from a video series produced by PBS called ‘Deep Look’ (link below). Chances are good that you have personally benefited from buzz-pollination through enjoying tomatoes, blue berries, cranberries, peppers, eggplant, potatoes, and thousands of other food producing plants.
Discovered by Dr. Anne Leonard at University of Nevada, Reno, Biology Department, this bizarre method of pollination is exclusive to the mighty bumblebee. Interestingly, our beloved honeybees can’t do it!
Certain plants do not attract pollinators with the gift of nectar, rather they hide their pollen deep inside their anthers, holding out until a suitable partner, a bumblebee, courts and forces it’s release. The bumblebee shakes the flower violently with her powerful vibration, until the anther opens, surrendering the prized golden pollen. Dr. Leonard’s research has documented that the harder the bumblebee buzzes, the more pollen she is granted from the plant.
This unlikely evolutionary strategy is accessed by over 20,000 unrelated species of flowering plants, all dependent upon a healthy population of wild bumblebees for pollination. Le Voov! would like to thank Dr. Leonard and her team for their dedication and effort to finding ways to maintain healthy bee populations around the globe.
For more information on this topic, click on this YouTube link to see for yourself the truly fascinating dynamics of buzz pollination.
Live long & buzz on bumblebees!
Special Note: Our resident bumblebees have been less than cooperative in allowing me to photograph them in the garden. This little fury bumblebee said ‘cheese’ via Pixabay ?