Fall flower 2: Goldenrod

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

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.

**old blog with goldenrod.

1. Old photo from July 2002. You can see that the noise level was high. I bought my first dSLR (Nikon D70) March 2004.

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?

Author: Zachary Huang

1 thought on “Fall flower 2: Goldenrod

  1. Zach, I am a bee keeper in KY. I have 20 acres behind my house that is half trees half pasture (it was a dairy farm years ago). I want to turn the space into a pollinator paradise. There is tons of info on trees and plants. Not much on converting whole fields of stubborn grass/hay into anything that is good for bees. I need a step by step guide and some ideas. Please point me in the right direction or connect me with someone who has done this.
    Thanks, Paul Blackhurst

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