Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bug Beds

Imagine you are an insect, and the nights are getting colder.  You don't really have a home to go to, but you need a place to snuggle in to survive the cooler nights.  There are a million places you could go.  You could hang under a leaf or sit on a tomato flower, but the real Ritz-Carlton of the insect world is the celosia flower, seen here.
Celosia

Celosias are gigantic, fuzzy, and filled with little crevices to lodge for the night.   There is even breakfast in bed for their guests, because the flowers provide plentiful nectar for bees, wasps and other insects.  I imagine it must be very pleasurable to settle in to these soft, velvety flowers.

Hive-less, or solitary bees will often nestle into or under a flower to get through the night.  If you go into your garden very early in the morning, you will undoubtedly find some sleepy bumble bees or wasps curled up inside your squash flowers or daisies.  If the morning is cool, you can even touch the bees - they will be too cold to panic. 

This week, we had an exceptionally cool day.  It was 95 degrees one day and 60 the next.  The bees and wasps (and the rest of us) were caught off guard, and they didn't leave their flowers for the entire day.  As I harvested celosias, I noticed bumble bees, cicada killer wasps, ichneumon wasps and many other wasps and bees sitting inactive amongst the celosia blooms.  I could get as close to them as I wished without disturbing them.  Unfortunately it was also raining, so I didn't get pictures.  You'll have to make do with this picture of a cart loaded with gorgeous celosias that I harvested. 
Cart of celosias

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