Bees in Chicory

European honey bee (Apis mellifera) in Chicory (Cichorium intybus) flower

European honey bee (Apis mellifera) in Chicory (Cichorium intybus) flower

I grow Common Chicory (Cichorium intybus) for my rabbit Bertie. There’s an awful lot of it, and it grows too fast to keep under control in summer when it becomes a prolific flowerer. The scapes grow several centimetres a day, and before you know it the raised beds are full of scraggly droopy stems with lovely blue flowers and almost no leaves.

European honey bee (Apis mellifera) in Chicory (Cichorium intybus) flower

European honey bee (Apis mellifera) in Chicory (Cichorium intybus) flower

The flowers attract members of the local European honey bee (Apis mellifera) colony, important pollinators of crops, garden plants (and weeds), and then I have a photo-op!

[Click on individual photos to embiggen].

European honey bee (Apis mellifera) with head covered in blue pollen

European honey bee (Apis mellifera) with head covered in blue pollen

European honey bee (Apis mellifera) with visible pollen baskets

European honey bee (Apis mellifera) with visible pollen baskets

Crumbs of pollen fall off this bee as it flies with full pollen baskets on its legs. The weight of the pollen doesn’t seem to pose any problem for the insect.

European honey bee (Apis mellifera) in Chicory (Cichorium intybus) flower

European honey bee (Apis mellifera) in Chicory (Cichorium intybus) flower

European honey bee (Apis mellifera) in Chicory (Cichorium intybus) flower

European honey bee (Apis mellifera) in Chicory (Cichorium intybus) flower

European honey bee (Apis mellifera) flies away, leaving a dusting of pollen

European honey bee (Apis mellifera) flies away, with a dusting of pollen

European honey bee (Apis mellifera) covered in lovely blue pollen

European honey bee (Apis mellifera) covered in lovely blue pollen

European honey bee (Apis mellifera) in flight

European honey bee (Apis mellifera) in flight

European honey bee (Apis mellifera) in Chicory (Cichorium intybus) flower

European honey bee (Apis mellifera) in Chicory (Cichorium intybus) flower

European honey bee (Apis mellifera) in flight

European honey bee (Apis mellifera) in flight

I’m still not sure how I managed to capture this shot. Really good luck, fast drive mode and continuous focus were involved, I know. But even so…

European honey bee (Apis mellifera) prepares to leave a flower

European honey bee (Apis mellifera) prepares to leave a flower

European honey bee (Apis mellifera) in Chicory (Cichorium intybus) flower

European honey bee (Apis mellifera) in Chicory (Cichorium intybus) flower

European honey bee (Apis mellifera) in flight

European honey bee (Apis mellifera) in flight

I got really close to my subjects for some of these pictures but didn’t get stung. It is useful to be categorized as “mostly harmless”. :)

Date: 12 January 2014
Camera: Pentax K-5
Lens 1: Sigma 50mm 1:2.8 DG Macro
Ambient light only.
Conditions: Bright, with some cloud.
Hand-held only.
Cropping and resizing in Irfanview.

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One Response to Bees in Chicory

  1. Lane says:

    These are absolutely beautiful. Thanks.

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