By Megan Benage
Well, was that a suspense builder or what? You might have even thought that I forgot about part 3 of this ode to nature series, but not so! Sometimes field season and surveying prairies is just very, very distracting in the best way. I’ve been enjoying visiting all of my prairie friends again and seeing them thrive. I’m always amazed at how well they do even in low moisture years. It is definitely a testament to the power of native plants and native ecosystems!
One of my favorite things to see are the first emerging Queen bumble bees. Their large buzzes can be heard from a while off as they zip through the prairie searching for pollen and nectar to sustain them and provision the nest for their new colony to come.
I hope I never stop feeling joy when I first see them. There is something about a fuzzy bumble bee that gives you hope. They’ve just overwintered in the ground—sometimes in bitterly cold conditions. They have the whole future colony inside of them and their one job after emerging in spring is to find food, provision the nest, lay the eggs, and then they die before the new colony is born.
Now don’t get too sad. Theirs is a story of strength. A tiny bee, surviving the Minnesota winter and breathing new life into spring and summer so our flowers, shrubs, and trees can shine through the season. That’s something to celebrate. What better way to end the ‘Ode to Nature’ series with a part 3 dedicated to none other than the bumble bee.
Bumble bee Buzz
Oh look a fuzzy bumble bee
Abdomen thorax head
those are the parts of my body at least that’s what I read
Not to mention 4 wings, no I don’t usually sting
I’m going from flower to flower collecting pollen and nectar just about every hour
I take it back to my nest, add some saliva and boom I’ve made a tiny loaf of bee bread
That’s how i feed my babies so they don’t wind up dead
Raise my young down in the ground
Unlike most of my other bee friends
I live in a colony not singly
I carry pollen in all different ways sometimes in a tiny basket on my leg
Or stuck to my tummy
No it’s not funny
I’m a bee and I know what I need:
Plant native wildflowers and grasses that bloom all sea-son
Avoid pesticides so I can stay alive
Leave open space for my nest
And I’ll take care of your flowers, garden and all the rest