Recharging Blackberries

It is blackberry season in Tennessee.

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A neighboring field has gone uncultivated for a decade which makes it a great place for blackberries…and pollinators.

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Blackberry bushes full of blossoms, even after a hard rain. We let the blackberries grow in our fencerows where they are easy to pick when they ripen in July.

honeybee on blackberry blossom

This photo is cropped and enlarged; I took this shot with a Pentax DSLR, a camera I sadly no longer have. I miss being able to photograph the honeybees with this much detail.

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This is a honeybee on a pale pink Multiflora Rose blossom. The locals hate Multiflora Rose and it is considered an exotic invasive. It likes to grow with blackberries where it can go undetected as the blossoms are so similar. I personally don’t mind Mulitflora and I allow a few pockets of it to grow around the farm; it smells heavenly when it blooms.

The Pear Trees Are Humming

Honeybees have changed the way I look at many things but nothing more so than ornamental pear trees.

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A half dozen pear trees, planted by the previous owner, line part of the lane.

This week the pear blossoms opened and with them came not only the honeybees but all sorts of winged pollinators.  When you stand beneath these trees on a warm sunny day you are immersed in the humming of thousands and thousands of tiny wings.  I try not to miss it.  All at once each tree becomes sort of a pollen metropolis.

While I find the fragrance of the pear blossoms cloying the bees apparently do not.  They flit about busily from blossom to blossom and often you can see the full pollen sacks on the hind legs.  They never seem to mind a camera being thrust into their midst; honestly, I don’t think they even notice as they are so focused on the task.

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This is a better photo of the pear blossom than the bee, but she is on the upper right side of the cluster, her dark body silhouetted against the white flowers.

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This bee is sporting full pollen sacks (and is completely ignoring my finger).The bees seem ravenous for the flower pollen.  Up until now they have been working the dark red pollen on the maple trees, but things are really starting to open up for them. When they have the time they will work the dandelion blossoms and other spring blossoms until the next big pollen run with the blackberry blossoms.

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I snapped one in flight. This has already become one of my favorite bee photos.

There is an interesting project that highlights writing about bees.  Called Winged: New Writing On Bees, it is a literary anthology. As far as I know this may be the first collection of such bee-themed writing (I hope I’m wrong about that) but the stories and photos they offer are incredibly beautiful.  I hope you’ll check it out.