The bees are back!  Just about everything in my yard is blooming right now and the bees are doing their part.  

As you may know, bees are keystone organisms.  This means that they are so vital to the ecosystem that without them the ecosystem may not survive.  One of their key roles is flower pollination.

So, for today’s challenge, find a bee and see if you can spot its pollen ball.  If you are following a honey bee or a bumblebee, note that they have a structure on their hind legs called a pollen basket.  They place the pollen grains in the basket.  For real.  Other bees have structures too but not as well-defined. 

Here are a few tips about finding the bees.  First, bee coloration is not just shades of Bee with pollen basketyellow and orange.  In Maine, we have some that have brown or black striped sections to their bodies.  We also have one that is a bright green and some that appear as shades of blue.  Check out what kinds of bees you have in your area.

Next, note that bees have four wings.  (So do wasps, by the way.)  If you see a two-winged insect hovering over a flower, that is something else.  I like to check out dandelions, apple blossoms, and other native flowering plants.  This is where the bees will be collecting their pollen.

Finally, you will have better luck on a sunny, warm, and calm day.   Bees struggle to fly in windy conditions.

One more thought:  Did you know that bees must visit approximately 2 million flowers to make a pound of honey?  Additionally, each bee contributes only about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey during its entire lifetime.  

As always, please take care not to aggravate the bees (nor the wasps) as you observe. 

This challenge is rated as medium. 


More honeybee facts at —

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