Fall flower 2: Goldenrod

Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Solidago
Species: S. canadensis
Common names: goldenrod
ZBAS 8

Well, it is definitely fall. You got that feel (of cool mornings and drier air), plus ragweed pollen was bothering your nose. But officially I think fall does not start will Sept 22 because summer started June 22. Anyway, I will need to redefine seasons according to my “feelings” next time, something like March to end of May as spring, June to August as summer, and Sept to Oct as Fall, rest as winter.  This means renaming a lot of my blogs, perhaps reducing the spring flowers and increasing the summer ones as a result.

Goldenrod just start about one week ago, but did not really have bees till now. The most common one here in Michigan is the Canadian one, Solidago canadensis.  Bees love it because it provides both pollen and nectar. Bees will make a crop of honey from it. The honey will be dark, and has a stinky smell, but not as strong as buckwheat.  Most people leave it for the bees to winter, instead of extracting it.  Most people have done extractions anyway (mid to late August).

  1. About 7% blooming. The photo below was taken Aug 31, 2020. Near College and Jolly, East Lansing, MI.  7:45 pm so a bit dull in light.

2. 30% bloom, taken Sept 4, 2020.  You can see there are more flowers in bloom now. Each plant has hundreds of small flowers.

3. 70% at Sept 18, 2020.

4.  95% at Sept 25, 2020.

5. All done, 100% (0% left) on Oct 7, 2020.  Now bees are working on New England aster and calico aster, if it is warm enough. 

*****back to the old blog I wrote 8 years back!*****

Yesterday, Sept 1st, 2012. A friend came over and visited me. While seeing him off, I saw many honey bees foraging on the goldenrod in the front garden. Then I saw a tagged bee foraging! I thought very hard about where this bee could have come from,  then realized that a nuc (small colony) used for experiment was moved in by students the night before.

Goldenrod (Solidago sp, Asteraceae) grows in large patches here in Michigan and other mid-western states. It normally blooms around Sept till October, but this year it is about 2 weeks earlier and started more than one week ago.  The most recent issues of  American Bee Journal and Bee Culture both had this plant and a honey bee as the cover (not mine).

1. Green 69 happily foraging on goldenrod which was less than 30 meters away from her home. You can see her has pollen on her hind legs but also probing for nectar (tongue sticking into the flower).

2. Still her.

3.  Frontal view that really shows the two pollen pellets on the corbiculae (=pollen baskets) well.

4. Her right wings flapping, showing the “windmill” effect, probably just landed.

5. See how small each floret is? she is working on one but her other body parts were on another.

Enough for Green69. There were only two papers, each on an individual honey bee. One was on Red93, who almost only grooms (92% of the time) others worker-mates on the left side below the wing.

Darrell Moore, Jennifer E. Angel, Iain M. Cheeseman, Gene E. Robinson and Susan E. Fahrbach, A highly specialized social grooming honey bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Journal of Insect Behavior, Volume 8, Number 6 (1995), 855-861, DOI: 10.1007/BF02009512

The other paper describes a bee that specialize on water foraging. I thought her name was Yellow 57. Robinson, G. E., Underwood, B. A., and Henderson, C. E. (1984). A highly specialized water collecting honey bee. Apidologie 15: 355-358.

So here you are the first blog on Green 69, who forages for both nectar and pollen on goldenrod! This is the first time I shot a tagged bee foraging naturally. Last time I had to cool a tagged bee and stage the shots with a bee on marygold and pea flowers.

6. Another bee from the same colony, painted red, but no numbers since she was not tagged, also forages on goldenrod.

7. Another bee, she is rather common: neither paint-marked nor tagged.

8. A bumble bee working on the same plant.

9. A paper wasp. Perhaps Polistes metricus.

10. A view to a suck :)

11. The European paper wasp, Polistes dominula, which almost replaced the native Polistes, now seemed to be going down as the other came back.

12. Leafcutter bee?

 

Posted 9/2/2012
Updated 10/7/2020

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Author: Zachary Huang

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