Friday, 15 April 2016

Thirsty work

Honey bees use a lot of water and some foraging bees are specialists in collecting it.  They prefer places where they don't risk drowning, such as a pond with moss and floating vegetation or the edge of a bird bath.  Water is not stored in the hive so it has to be collected every day in the active season.  This bee was collecting water from the hairy leaves of Lambs' Ear (Stachys lanata).  In the first photo you can see clearly the structure of her tongue.  The tube-like proboscis is made of two mandibles and acts like a straw.  The longer flexible tongue is extended through this tube and has a floppy brush-like end for lapping up water.

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