Sunday 1 July 2018

The curious taste of bees

It has been mentioned before, that bees in the garden seem to have very definite tastes.  It doesn't matter how bright the flowers, how large, if they smother the plant, or if there is just one.  It seems bees like what bees like.

In some cases this is understandable; complex flowers, no nectar or flowering when it is too cold.  In the case of aloe striatula the lack of bees never made sense.  If you have ever looked at A. striatula flowers they drip with nectar, the flowers are covered, the top leaves are covered.  If there was ever a plant that provides a perfect bee filling station it should be this one.

There is the issue that the flowers are not form the UK, they are not designed for bees, but the amount of liquid dripping onto the leaves makes easy pickings.  It has been observed that bees tend to stay away from plants they have not come across before and it's only when a bee finds them, perhaps by accident, then reports back that others identify the flowers as a food source. This seems to have been the case in the garden a couple of days ago.  From no bees, to bees all over the flowers.

20 minutes trying to get a photo, and that I end up with is a blur

No wings

and more blurs. 

So while no amazing photos, it is great to actually hear the plants buzzing as more bees arrive each day. Maybe they taste is not so curious afterall.


  1. Bees use dancing (a costly signal) to create a treasure map of flower patches. The more calories that bees are willing to sacrifice dancing for a flower patch, the more valuable it is. It's fascinating that bees essentially grade our gardens by usefulness. How awesome would it be if we could see the rankings?

    I've attended lots of plant shows. People "ooh and ahh" when they see an entry that excites them. But it's not like all the entries are ranked accordingly. Instead, a handful of expert judges rank the plants.

    This last weekend I attended a patio peek. The organizers handed out maps that showed where all the participating patios were located. Naturally the patios weren't equally valuable. Some barely had any plants while others were packed with plants. Imagine how awesome it would be if the map updated in real time to display everybody's valuations of each patio.

    I value your blog, but it's not like I use costly signals to reveal my valuation of it. It would be a different story if there was a treasure map of plant blogs.

    1. It would be great to see bee rankings of my garden plants. I sort of have a picture of the ranking through observation, but would be great to be able to read the rankings.