Tag Archives: bees

Winter Dens at Lathrop

By Barbara Walvoord

Originally published in the Lathrop Lamp Post Feb. 3-9, 2018

We know that our Lathrop bears are hibernating in their cozy dens.  But also, in the ground, tiny dens hold hibernating bumblebee queens (Bombus sp.), who, along with hundreds of other native bee species, help pollinate our crops and our flowers.

These hibernating bumblebee queens were born last summer.  The old queen who produced the new queens is dead now, as are all her other children: the early-born female worker bees who helped her all summer, as well as all her male children, who didn’t help at all, but flew off in pursuit of one of those new queens.  After mating, the males all died. Only the new queen survived, carrying her eggs in her body, slumbering in her underground den, using up the body fat she gained last summer from gorging on nectar.  Continue reading Winter Dens at Lathrop

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The Business of Bees

by Barbara Walvoord

“When a bumblebee is feeding at a flower, you can pet it,” said Tom Sullivan a pollinator expert who has consulted with us about our land. Unless directly threatened, bees are reluctant to sting. I did not try to pet this bee, but I did stick my camera practically in its face, and it just went about its business.

This looks like a honey bee to me, but it could be one of the other 4,000 species of bees in the U.S., some of whom are solitary, living in the ground, in tree holes, or in the soft pith of stems.

If this is a honey bee, it’s a forager, whose business is to bring nectar, pollen, and water back to the worker bees in the hive, who are busy making honey and tending the queen and the larvae. A single bee Continue reading The Business of Bees