Artichokes, scarlet runner beans, pumpkin, zucchini, tomatillos and other vegetables, herbs, and flowers were full of bees in January.
Scarlet runner beans are so pretty and useful. This year I collected the mature beans to try as dried beans, since they get past it so quickly. The dried beans are very pretty, but I have yet to taste them.
Oregano flowers are extra popular.
Dill flowers are full of zillions of types of bugs – bees, hover flies, wasps, shield bugs…
The hoverfly Eristalis tenax sort of looks like a bee, but has a different abdomen and eyes. The larvae are called Rat tailed maggots, and live in water. They seem bigger than the flies because of their long tails and gave me quite a fright the first time I saw them.
I think this is the Asian Paper Wasp. There are many more than usual this year, maybe because there are fewer of the Vespula wasps which nest in the ground, apparently there are fewer this year because of the extra rain.
Thyme is popular with bees and hoverflies
It must be amazing to be a bee on an artichoke. The bumbles often seem to sleep there.
Stachys lanata, Lamb’s Ear, is messy when flowering and people sometimes advise cutting off the flowers, but the bees seem to love them. Even when it seems like they must be finished there are tiny new flowers opening.
The Wool Carder Bee also likes Lamb’s Ears, it collects the hairs to make little fluffy nests in places like the keyhole in our door. The male bees buzz madly around a group of flowers, occasionally attacking other bees, but it doesn’t seems to be much of an issue, the bees just move to another flower.
I planted milkweed for the Monarchs and was surprised to see that the bees love the flowers, both the swan plant and the fancier Asclepius curasavica.
And here’s a Bumble bee on Iris Neomarica caerulea.