Bumblebees Collecting Pollen in my Garden

I am so proud of these two pictures of a queen or worker bee busy gathering pollen on my flowering oregano.  At first I did not know what I had captured in these photos and only realized once I started to crop and post them.  Can you guess what these “orange bumps” are?  See below…   A new bumblebee appeared on July 23rd in the morning.DSC_3561 DSC_3567

I first took one look at these “orange” bumps on both sides of this bee and of course I was curious as to what they were. So, I went online and found out that bees have 3 sets of legs and the hind legs especially have combs and brushes to gather pollen.  The pollen sticks to their hair and body together into one mass which are eventually stored in baskets.  The bumblebee will moisten the pollen with some nectar to make it sticky and stay in the basket.  Workers and queens have two baskets, one each on the outside surface of each hind leg.  The pollen can be yellow, red, or in my case, orange.  It all depends on the type of flowers they visit.  In the top picture on the bumblebee’s right side the basket looks full but the one on the left side needs more pollen!

When you see a queen carrying pollen you will know that she has a nest site nearby.  A basket can weigh as much as 0.01 g and contain as much as 1,000,000 pollen grains.  Just think of all the work that has gone into gathering it.  I took these pictures around 5:00 p.m. so that might be a good time to check in your garden to see if you have any queens or workers carrying pollen baskets – the wonders of Mother Nature!

Bees play such a big part in our gardens and the food we eat that I thought I would bring these photos to the Novice Gardener’s Party and share my delight in finally capturing a great picture of a bumblebee 🙂

A new bee I just saw Wednesday morning – I have lots of happy bumblebees gathering pollen – I think these are the workers 🙂  Todays bumblebee is enjoying my thyme flowers – how absolutely exciting!  I did notice there were pale yellow baskets just starting on a couple of bumblebees hind legs.


16 thoughts on “Bumblebees Collecting Pollen in my Garden

    • A compliment especially from you is very appreciated Patty. Yes, they are hard to shoot – I have been trying all summer! I think this queen/worker was so heavy carrying all that pollen that she moved slower LOL 🙂


  1. Great photos, Judi! You captured the action and details so well! Really neat to read about their baskets and how they go about harvesting. I never get close enough to bees to notice any more than their buzzing. 🙂


  2. Pingback: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter | Fiesta Friday #25 | The Novice Gardener

  3. What great pix! Every time I catch a bee on a flower I run and get my camera…but my pix are nothing like yours! Great post. Thanks for sharing with FF!


  4. LOVE. I just loved this… your photos are amazing! Holy smokes..I mean, really amazing!! That is so very cool…I had no idea about the little baskets…but then again, I’ve never gotten close enough to notice orange spots on them! ❤


  5. Amazing photographs! How interesting about those little baskets! It must take the bees so long to collect that much pollen. I forget that so much amazing nature can be observed just in the garden or backyard. 🙂 Thank you for sharing!


  6. Thanks so much – I was thrilled with the pictures. I learned something new a couple years ago about the pollen sacs. I can’t even imagine how long it takes them to get pollen sacs so big – they are busy as bees 🙂


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