Sunday, May 8, 2011
Before you mow your lawn this week, grab your journal and a pencil - and a hand lens if you have one - and check out the dandelions in your yard.
Honeybees are busy in my dandelions. They stop briefly, stash a bit more pollen into their already stuffed (and very orange) pollen baskets and then buzz off to the next flower. There are lots of smaller bees, too: bright green bees that are usually as shiny as newly waxed cars but now are dusted with a coating of pollen; tiny gray bees that circumnavigate the outer ring of flowers before diving into the pollen-rich center. And ants, amber colored with long hind legs that, when they chow down, stick their dark butts into the air.
Beetles and "true bugs" (hemipetera) nibble pollen and, sometimes, petals. Thin-waisted wasps dive headfirst into the blossoms, then fly off to the next flower carrying tiny yellow pollen grains on their thoraxes.
Who do you see in your dandelions?