MONDAY is MACRO DAY: WEEK 4: Bumblebees and Pollen Baskets


As busy as a bee!

As busy as bumblebee!

As busy as this Common Carder Bee gathering pollen was on Tuesday afternoon this week at Myers Allotment in Silverdale.

pollination , bumble bee, common carder bee, insect , macro

Pollination in Action ©HelenBushe


And what’s the orange clump on this bee’s leg?

It’s a pollen basket:

Pollen Basket bee leg corbicula macro

Pollen Basket (Corbicula) ©HelenBushe

What’s a pollen basket? You may well ask!

That orange mass on her leg is her basket. It is pollen that she has gathered from flowers she has been visiting during her foraging about. Female bees provision their offspring with pollen (mixed with a little nectar), which means they have to visit numerous flowers (sometimes 100 plus per trip!) to gather enough pollen to feed each offspring that is produced. It would be incredibly inefficient for them to have to travel back to their nest after visiting each flower. So, to be more efficient female bees have a special apparatus for holding and transporting pollen. The pollen collecting apparatus in apid bees, which include honey bees and bumblebees, is commonly called a ‘pollen basket’ or corbicula. This region is located on the tibia of the hind legs and consists of hairs surrounding a concave region. After the bee visits a flower, she begins grooming herself and brushes pollen gathered on her body down toward her hind legs and packs the pollen into her pollen basket. A little nectar mixed with the pollen keeps it all together, and the hairs in the pollen basket hold it in place. – Bee Conservancy

Now that I’ve been paying more attention to bees, I’m realising just how busy they are and also how essential they are for crops, fruit and flowers…… and for us and our survival.


If you like observing nature close-up there are more MONDAY MACROS showing dragonflies, butterflies, ladybirds, snails and much more. Please click on these links:




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