Living With Lavender

Lavender is a popular ornamental near tall buildings. It is robust and can fill substantial spaces with waves of tall purple stalks. Like many of the mints, Lavender produces substantial amounts of nectar to attract pollinators, especially hymenoptera such as bumblebees, honey bees and other bees. I have noted a substantial number of carpenter bees foraging on lavender plantings near a nesting site. Large lavender plantings are good sites to observe foraging behavior of bees.

The male carpenter bee (below) was collecting nectar from the lavender, flitting from flower to flower. Carpenter bees are strong fliers and capable of hovering. As the carpenter bee approaches the flower, its forward progress slows to slightly more than a hover and its legs extend away from its body. The bee is able to delicately land on the flower and gain traction with its legs. The legs bend to absorb some of the force of landing. A too fast approach would cause the flower to move away from the bee making it difficult to land.

Carpenter Bee

Male Carpenter Bee Landing on a Flower

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in behavior, by jjneal, Environment. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Living With Lavender

  1. Patricia Chua says:

    I never knew that bee’s had a special landing method. It’s interesting that they sort of land similar to helicopters. It makes you wonder if maybe they’re related somehow.

  2. jjneal says:

    Unlikely that they are related. Helicopters were developed by watching seeds that have helicopter properties.

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