Bees are Good

The May issue of The Pender Post cover features a terrific photo by Pender’s own Niki Roberts. I will hazard a guess that the photo was not taken last week but it is a fine example of what we have to look forward to.

Our happy looking cover flower is a California Lilac and our cover bee is likely a bumble bee as opposed to a honey bee. Of course both the cover flower and cover bee have Latin names but because I am still getting grocery store glares because of my explanation of the Latin derivation of the term Vernal Equinox (March Pender Post cover comment) I have decided that it would de wiser not to re-fan those now barely dying embers of Latin outrage... I’ll wait until next month.

Many think that the terms bumblebee and honeybee are interchangeable. Apparently that common error is rather like saying curlers and catapults are the same because they both throw rocks. Both make honey but the honeybee is the rock star of honey production. No doubt a honeybee, once it learns to read, is inspired by its swings right into dedicated honey production. Neither the honeybee nor bumblebee is particularly aggressive but will sting to defend themselves or their nests. The honeybee is more slender and wasp-like in appearance while the bumblebee is rounder, more robust, hairy-looking and usually larger than the honeybee.

Perhaps the most important fact to remember is that gardeners and all kinds of crop growers need bees to pollinate their crops. Bees are important but there is some proof that there are other insects, beetles, butterflies and other plant visitors that provide a very fine pollinating service. In order to find the best answers for our Pender Island gardeners the Pender Post Research Department swung into action.

Among other sources our researchers were directed to a blog entitled, and I wouldn’t lie about this, “ecology is not a dirty word.” That particular website advised that:

“We first need to know what kind of reproductive system that flower has. Is it male, female or bisexual (containing both male and female parts)? Can it self-pollinate, or does it need to be outcrossed to another flower or plant of the same species? Once we know this, we then need to watch the behaviour of the insect that visits that flower.”

Whoa...waay too much information, and certainly way more information than my mother provided when she said, “the bees are our friends.”

Let me sum up this little Pender Post cover comment by saying that bees are good, NiKi Roberts has taken a terrific photo that included both flowers and a bee, and finally, I must be more careful about requesting Research Department assistance without having a clue where that request might lead our diligent but impressionable young researchers.

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