Bees And Flower Oil – Information On Oil Collecting Bees

Bees And Flower Oil – Information On Oil Collecting Bees

By: Amy Grant

Beescollect pollen and nectar from flowers for food to feed the colony, right? Notalways. How about oil collecting bees? Never heard of bees that collect oil?Well you’re in luck. The following article contains information about thelittle known relationship between bees and flower oil.

What are Oil Bees?

Oil collecting bees have a symbiotic relationship withfloral oil producing plants. First discovered over 40 years ago by StefanVogel, this mutualism has evolved through various adaptations. Over the courseof history, floral oil production and oil collecting on the part of certainspecies of bees has waxed and waned.

There are 447 species of apid bees that collect oil fromabout 2,000 species of angiosperms, wetland plants that reproduce both sexuallyand asexually. Oil collecting behavior is characteristic of species in thegenera Centris, Epicharis, Tetrapedia, Ctenoplectra, Macropis, Rediviva, and Tapinotaspidini.

Relationship between Bees and Flower Oil

Oil flowers produce oil from secretory glands, orelaiophores. This oil is then collected by oil collecting bees. The females usethe oil for food for their larvae and to line their nests. The males collectoil for an as yet unknown purpose.

Oil bees collect and transport the oil on their legs orabdomen. Their legs are often disproportionately long so they can reach downinto the lengthy spurs of the oil producing flowers. They are also covered witha dense area of velvety hairs that have evolved to facilitate the collection ofthe oil.

Once the oil is collected, it is rubbed into a ball and fedto the larvae or used to line the sides of the underground nest.

In most cases of floral diversity, it is the flowers thathave adapted to their pollinators in order to be able to reproduce, but in thecase of oil collecting bees, it is the bees that have adapted.

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Medicinal Herbs to Plant for the Bees

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Let’s face it, the bees need all the help they can get these days. Organic beekeeping methods often involve using herbs to help repel mites and pests within beehives.

What if the bees could gather their own medicine? Could that lead to more resilient hives?

There is some evidence that anti-microbial and anti-fungal herbs can help prevent disease within hives. Specifically, the essential oils of thyme and mint are commonly used (and effective!) treatments for varroa mites.

By planting a medicinal herb garden, you have the opportunity to not only strengthen your health, while at the same time improving the health of your local pollinator population.

Help the bees, heal yourself.

Does using plants really work?

Yes- they work. Are you still in doubt that such a natural and simple solution can work wonders? Same here.

There are some plants that are backed by science. Others are more like DIY home remedies based on anecdotal evidence.

You’re free to choose plants that work for you. Rather than buying and trying to plant foliage that’s out of your hardiness zone, try planting stuff that grows natively in your area. Don’t choose plants that are hard to grow. You’re just wasting time.

And always buy planted pots. This makes it easier it place where you want and you don’t have to start from seed.

How to Prevent Carpenter Bees from Returning

Early fall is one of the best times to take preventive steps against a future carpenter bee infestation. The nesting tunnels are empty, and adult carpenter bees haven’t yet moved in for the winter.

Here are a few straightforward measures to take to prevent a carpenter bee infestation in the following spring.

Seal Existing Holes and Crevices

Once the carpenter bees have vacated the nest, it’s crucial to seal the hole right away to prevent the insects from returning. Fill the carpenter bee holes with caulk, putty, steel wool, or spray foam insulation.

Repair and Treat Damaged Wood Surfaces

Once you’ve sealed off the entrance hole, repair and treat the damaged wood. Carpenter bees are most likely to create nests in degraded and untreated wood, so this is also a practical way of discouraging them from returning to a previous nesting site.

Sand the wood surfaces smooth and treat the exposed wood with primer and two coats of paint. Varnish and stain treatments also offer some protection against carpenter bees, but paint is more suitable.

It’s far easier to prevent carpenter bees from taking up residence in wooden structures around your home than it is to repair structural damage caused by their burrowing.

Follow our tips and tricks for how to deter carpenter bees and prevent future infestation. If possible, avoid using pesticides and try one of our recipes for natural carpenter bee deterrent.

Once you’ve managed to get rid of the insects, act fast to seal their entrance holes, and treat the damaged wood to discourage them from returning.


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Watch the video: My take on feeding Essential Oils to my Honey Bees