Winces at feedback
I have an announcement.
It has stopped raining. For the first time in ten days, we have blue sky.
The rain has made the lawn go feral.
And in the fifteen minutes between the sun appearing from behind the rainclouds and the start of the mowing, I managed to get these photos of native bees on weeds.
Native bees love weeds.
I love native bees.
I don’t know much about them — more than 1,600 species have been recorded from Australia and, apart from a handful of big species like the Teddy Bear (fluffy), Blue-banded (stripy) and Green Carpenter Bees (shiny), most are small to tiny — but I delight in seeing them gathering pollen from the hearts of introduced Hawksbeard and Catsear.
They move without pause over petals and between stamens, tucking away pollen, while the flowers on which they work sway and shiver in the breeze. As the insects forage, they ripple from green to purple and their wings shimmer like a soap bubble.
Some native bee species, including colonial stingless bees, carry pollen in special structures called corbiculae (pollen baskets) on their hind legs. Others have clusters of dense hair (scopae) on the legs or abdomen, which fulfill the same function. As they wallow and dive in the flowers, they groom off the sticky pollen into the corbiculae or scopae. Then they fly home with bags full.
Now the mower has cleared the garden of any flowers that raised their heads above the grass. It is necessary — the property owners want a lawn not a meadow — but the green expanse has a melancholy look. No yellow suns dot its galaxy.
The hard-working bees will have to labour longer to gather their pollen, but even in a newly mown lawn some flowers still avoid the blades.