Botanical garden flowers and bees

Flat sea holly, 1 August 2015

On 1 August 2015, to the botanical garden. First, the part closest to the entrance: a reconstruction of the garden as it was in the early seventeenth century, the time of botanist Clusius, founder of the garden. In one patch, flat sea holly flowers.

Honeybees on flat sea holly flower, 1 August 2015

These flowers attract bees and hoverflies.

Honeybees still on flat sea holly flower, 1 August 2015

So do Centaurea alpina flowers next to it. They attract both male and female red-tailed bumblebees.

Rosebay willowherb, 1 August 2015

Also in the same patch: rosebay willowherb.

The rosebay willowherb flowers attract red-tailed bumblebees; and also large earth bumblebees.

Brown knapweed with red-tailed bumblebee female, 1 August 2015

Finally, in this Clusius garden patch: the purple flowers of brown knapweed, with also their red-tailed bumblebees.

Further in the botanical garden, near the hothouse, a peacock butterfly on butterfly-bush flowers. Too far away for a macro lens.

Bladder campion, 1 August 2015

Bladder campion flowers near the old astronomical observatory.

Artichoke flower with honeybee, 1 August 2015

Then, big artichoke flowers. They attract honeybees. And red-tailed bumblebees; including young queens, recently flown away from the nest. They are about twice the size of worker females and males.

Behind the beehive of the botanical garden, a young dunnock on the path.

Saw-wort flower with honeybee, 1 August 2015

Saw-wort flowers attract honeybees.

Saw-wort flower with honeybees, 1 August 2015

In the pond, carp swimming. A small red-eyed damselfly couple in tandem.

Stay tuned, as next we went to the Victoria amazonica hothouse.

Honeybees killed, even by ‘relatively safe’ neonicotinoids

This video is called How Neonicotinoids Kill Bees.

From PLOS One:

An Observational Study of Honey Bee Colony Winter Losses and Their Association with Varroa destructor, Neonicotinoids and Other Risk Factors

Romée van der Zee, Alison Gray, Lennard Pisa, Theo de Rijk

July 8, 2015


This article presents results of an analysis of honey bee losses over the winter of 2011-2012 in the Netherlands, from a sample of 86 colonies, located at 43 apiaries. The apiaries were selected using spatially stratified random sampling. Colony winter loss data were collected and related to various measures of colony strength recorded in summer, as well as data from laboratory analysis of sample material taken from two selected colonies in each of the 43 apiaries. The logistic regression model which best explained the risk of winter loss included, in order of statistical importance, the variables:

(1) Varroa destructor mite infestation rate in October 2011, (2) presence of the cyano-substituted neonicotinoids acetamiprid or thiacloprid in the first 2 weeks of August 2011 in at least one of the honey bee matrices honey, bees or bee bread (pollen), (3) presence of Brassica napus (oilseed rape) or Sinapis arvensis (wild mustard) pollen in bee bread in early August 2011, and (4) a measure of the unexplained winter losses for the postal code area where the colonies were located, obtained from a different dataset.

We consider in the discussion that reduced opportunities for foraging in July and August because of bad weather may have added substantially to the adverse effects of acetamiprid and thiacloprid. A novel feature of this work is its use of postal code random effects from two other independent datasets collected in the annual national monitoring by questionnaires of winter losses of honey bees in the Netherlands. These were used to plan the sample selection and also in the model fitting of the data in this study. It should however be noted that the results of the present pilot study are based on limited data, which may consequently reveal strong factors but fail to demonstrate possible interaction effects.

As one of the authors of this explained this morning on Dutch radio, acetamiprid and thiacloprid are considered to be ‘harmless’ compared to other neonicotinoids. However, even they …

Neonicotinoid insecticide travels through a soil food chain, disrupting biological control of non-target pests and decreasing soya bean yield: here.

Bumblebee colony in nestbox, video

This video is about a nestbox. Ann in the Netherlands made the video.

The nestbox was intended for birds. But, instead, bumblebees have made a nest to live there.

Poppy attracts many bumblebees, video

This video is about a poppy attracting many bumblebees.

G. Temmink from the Netherlands made this video on 10 June 2015.

How bees are born, time-lapse video

This National Geographic video says about itself:

Amazing Time-Lapse: Bees Hatch Before Your Eyes

20 May 2015

Witness the eerily beautiful growth of larvae into bees in this mesmerizing time-lapse video from photographer Anand Varma. Varma said the six-month project, for which he built a beehive in his workshop, gave him a new respect for the meticulous job of beekeeping.

Click here to read the behind the scene’s story of exactly how photographer Anand Varma made this amazing time-lapse.

Good rare bumblebee news

This 27 May 2015 video is from Tiengemeten island in the Netherlands. It shows a rare Bombus veteranus bumblebee, foraging on common comfrey flowers.

Bombus veteranus used to we widespread in the Netherlands, but by now it is limited to a few small areas. It used to be uncommon on Tiengemeten before the island became a nature reserve. Recent years, however, have seen an increase for Bombus veteranus bumblebees on Tiengemeten.