Tuesday 16 February 2016

Charles Darwin on Staffordshire bumblebees

Charles Darwin, on the bumblebees of North Staffordshire...

"I have said that country humble-bees appear to be less cunning than London ones, yet I confess I saw this June, in Staffordshire, some in the act of cutting holes at the base of the corolla of the Rhododendron azaleoides; the greater number entered the mouth of the corollas, as indeed was evident from the quantity of pollen on the stigma, brought by the bees from neighbouring azaleas - this hybrid not having a single grain of pollen of its own. One bee was seen which entered the mouth of some of the flowers and cut holes in others; this shows that the orifices are made simply to save trouble, and not because the bee cannot extract the nectar from the long tube." — The Gardeners' Chronicle, 21st August 1841.

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