One last meal before winter

Southern Ontario is the northern edge of the geographic range of the eastern carpenter bee, Xylocopa virginica.  Young bees emerge as adults in late summer,  and they need to feed before hibernation.  This likely limits how far north they can range – if summers are too short, young bees may not reach adulthood while there are still flowers to feed on in the fall.  Although young bees can feed themselves, in autumn we most often see old females frantically gathering nectar on flowers like these sedums in my garden.  Notice their worn wings, which indicate that these females are old foragers.  They may be feeding themselves in preparation for winter, or perhaps they are gathering nectar to feed to their offspring.

 

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About Miriam Richards

Professor, scientist, farmer, etc.
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