A Peaceable Kingdom of Pollinators

August 4, 2016

Some not-so-tasty but nicely vigorous oregano grows near our back door.  It needs nothing from me—no compost in the spring or watering in dry weather—to grow dense and tall. So I appreciate its being there, especially so in late July when it produces an abundance of pink or off-white flower clusters that in turn attract an array of pollinating insects.

On sunny days at the height of summer the stand of oregano buzzes with pollinating wasps, bees and—I thinksome flower-loving flies.  They come in a variety of colors, not just dark stripes, but metallic greens, blues, and inky blacks. Most are small and thin-bodied and spend little time at each floret. The exception is the fuzzy, round-bodied bumble bee, able to tap the nectar expertly with its long proboscis.  The bumble bee is the slow-moving elephant among these insect herds. Despite the variety of species and a situation that from the point of view of us mammals would seem likely to lead to tense competition, the pollinators appear to browse in peace.

Slender winged bodies
flit, dart, hover nonstop, but
bumble bee drinks deep

Bumble bee


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