Bees foraging on catalpa leaves, anyone?

Ok, I have seen bees foraging on catalpa flowers, many years ago. In fact here are some pictures I took, in 2005 (date stamp: 2005-06-18 10:31:24).

I remember this was in Okemos, behind the Quality Dairy Store near Grand River and Dobie.

At that time I did not notice that catalpa leaves also have extra-floral nectaries. So this year, for about two weeks now, I have been checking  6 trees and did it in the morning (9-10 am), afternoon (5-7 pm) and in the evening (8 pm yesterday). No luck seeing bees at the back of leaves, some leaves I can see nectar on the glands. In fact, no bees even on flowers.

I have a friend in London, Canada (3 hrs away!) who has shot many bees on catalpa leaves. Last night he saw even more, so I went again to a tree which was quite close to one of my apiaries. still no luck.

So, please! if you see bees foraging on the back of catalpa leaves, please let me know and I will come and take some pics, and treat you for lunch or dinner (depending on the time bees are there:). Otherwise I may have to drive to London to get these pics!

Thank you!


PS. on Sunday June 26, I finally had the luck to see honey bees foraging on the back of catalpa leaves. I was going to give up after waiting for 10 min on the blooming tree, and then to the other tree (finished bloom about one week ago). Then I saw one honey bee foraging! I started shooting the bee (with my camera, of course) and another bee showed up. I went back to the blooming tree (30 ft away) and saw another 2 bees. So there were at least 4-5 honey bees foraging, from 9:15-10 am Sunday morning…

Now, I finally have photos to prove this! (after visiting 6 trees and at least 10 trips!). Will try to keep an eye how long honey bees will forage on the plant.

Author: Zachary Huang

3 thoughts on “Bees foraging on catalpa leaves, anyone?

  1. The bees suck the extrafloral nectary here of the trees, Catalpa speciosa, but i am not sure whether your trees there are the same species?

  2. Today I am seeing many bees on catalpa leaves. Yesterday, I discovered some kind of worm or catapillar stripping leaves off the tree (and off a sycamore nearby). I thought the worm might be attracting the bees. I’m reluctant to spray as I don’t want to harm the bees, but the trees are being destroyed.

  3. No, the bees are coming for the extrafloral nectar on the back of the leaves. The nectar will also attract ants, which will protect the trees from the caterpillars. Spray at night, with pesticides that are not highly toxic to honey bees.

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