Limitless Scopa

Bees collect both nectar and pollen from flowers. While the nectar is a source of carbohydrates, the pollen provides them with protein, fats and various macro and micro nutrients. To carry pollen back to their hives, the female bees have different specialised structures on their body which vary as per the species. Honeybees and bumblebees have a pollen basket on their hind legs whereas others like leafcutter, mason and mining bees have long, branched hairy structures known as scopa. While carpenter, mining and squash bees have scopa on their hind legs, leaf cutter and mason bees have dense scopa underneath their abdomen. Some like the yellow-faced bees carry pollen in their crop, and then there are the cleptoparasitic bees who just invade the nest of other bees, laying their eggs within for their larvae to consume pollen and nectar collected by the host!

A tanka for the bee:

Weighed down with pollen
rigours of a gatherer
tenacious bee
a keystone for the living
canary in a coal mine

[Framed: A bee with abdominal scopa loaded with pollen approaches and then digs into a cucurbit flower (Luffa sp.) at Aarey Forest, Mumbai]

– Narendra Nayak Β© 2021

29 thoughts on “Limitless Scopa

    1. Thank you so much; I’m glad you enjoyed it!
      The tomatoes are still going strong – just found two more tiny ones. Am harvesting them as they come along. The pumpkin couldn’t make it though as the season ended and the vine dried out. Frankly, it is quite challenging given the space constraints, but it was a great learning experience (with lots of sauteed pumpkin flower to devour). πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m delighted to learn something new about bees and to see the photograph of the bee with the abdominal scopa – fascinating! I’ll be checking out the bees in my own garden a bit more closely… πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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