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Old 01-19-2017, 03:17 PM   #1
A Bee's Best Friend
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Chicago Illinois USA
Default Sunshine warms darker flower pedals attracts bees

An interesting article about a study that shows darker flower petals can be a few degrees warmer than the lighter colors when the sun shines in spring . A woodland spring blooming plant with a few dark petals to warm up under trees still bare of leaves could have an advantage for seed production.


"Remember how you were told that a dark coat keeps you a little warmer on a cold but sunny day?” Bernhardt said. “Some plants blooming in chilly environments have dark purple or almost black patches on their flowers to keep cold-blooded insects toasty warm as they pollinate."
As pools of light shifted over the course of the day under the trees in the cooler forest, cold-blooded bees visited the bicolors more frequently, possibly because of the warmth provided by the darker petals.
Co-researcher Retha Edens-Meier, Ph.D., a professor and research scientist in SLU’s School of Education, using thermocouples, and a hypodermic tissue probe, learned that these dark petals are up to 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the surrounding atmosphere when they stand in a pool of Spring sunlight. Bees, especially fuzzy females of Carlin’s bee (Andrena carlinii), prefer to forage upside down on these flowers so their hind legs and bee butts are warmed by the dark petals as they drink nectar and collect pollen.

Peter Bernhardt 2 years ago
The footage how some of the larger bees often prefer to forage upside-down on the flowers of Viola species (a form of foraging behavior addressed by Andrew Beattie back in the 1970's (60's?). That bee may look like a bumblebee but she's really Andrena carlinii (common in Missouri woodlands and glades).

Journal of Pollination Ecology[]=403
"Half Earth Quest" Edward O. Wilson

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Old 01-19-2017, 03:30 PM   #2
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The word sunshine brought me into this thread Gloria I have to admit! I like the idea of bee butt warming under the Viola petals, I'm glad we have so many wild violets for them in the early spring.
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Old 01-19-2017, 06:48 PM   #3
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Love it.

And I love your "bee butt warming" phrase.
"If suburbia were landscaped with meadows, prairies, thickets or forests, or combinations of these, then the water would sparkle, fish would be good to eat again, birds would sing and human spirits would soar." ~ Lorrie Otto
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Old 01-25-2017, 01:14 PM   #4
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Interesting information! One more thing to consider when choosing early spring flowers that will benefit pollinators.
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attracts, bees, darker, flower, pedals, sunshine, warms

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