Posts Tagged ‘Common Eastern Bumble Bee’


When I stopped by Canadian Tire recently, I checked out their garden section. Along with the usual fall selection of mums in bright autumnal colours, they had some nice agastache plants. I passed up the mums, but brought home a few pots of the agastache.
It’s a variety called Blue Fortune Giant Hyssop, fairly commonly available at garden centres. I’ve grown it before in past gardens and found it to be a rather short-lived perennial, but it has several charms. It’s purple flowers are pretty to look at, and it is a bee magnet. Bumblebees love it. Absolutely adore it. While bees visit many flowers in the garden and surrounding fields, nothing attracts bumblebees like agastache. All day, every day, you can wander out into the garden and see the agastache spires dotted with bumblebees.


The visitors seem to be mostly of two species. I believe the smaller bumblebee on the left to be a Common Eastern Bumblebee (Bombus impatiens), while the larger bee on the right is an Eastern Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa virginica). The fuzzy hairs that give bumble bees a kinder, gentler look than other bees, provide them with insulation that allows them to fly at cooler temperatures than most pollinators.



Agastache is a member of the Lamiaceae family, which also includes mints and lavender. Blue Fortune is a hybrid cross of A. rugosa and A. foeniculum. The former is native to Asia, where hyssop has long been used as a herbal remedy, reputed to be helpful with fevers, upset stomachs and cold symptoms. A. foeniculum is native to North America from northern Canada south to Colorado and Wisconsin. For more about agastache for the garden, check out this Fine Gardening site.


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At the corner of the house, there is a large hydrangea bush. Over the past few weeks, it has been putting on a magnificent display, with huge cones of flowers billowing over it. The flowers are much appreciated by a host of pollinators. The large, showy clusters of flowers mean that insects visiting the bush aren’t always conspicuous as they move from bloom to bloom. Rather, as you walk past the apparently-empty bush, you become aware of the hum of many insects at work. When you stop to look, it is clear that the bush is host to a small army of workers. Here are a few of the visitors.


The most conspicuous visitors are butterflies. Pictured above is a Viceroy butterfly (Limenitis archippus), while below is a rather battered-looking Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma).


A few flies were among the visitors. The individual below may be a Greenbottle (Lucilia sp.).


The striped bottom shown here seems to be that of a Bald-faced Hornet (Dolichovespula maculata).


This yellow-striped bottom is probably that of an Eastern Yellowjacket (Vespula maculifrons).


I was happy to see quite a number of Honey Bees (Apis mellifera).


This fuzzy bee, probably a Common Eastern Bumble Bee (Bombus impatiens) rounds out my roster of visitors. Undoubtedly, many others are also enjoying this bountiful hydrangea.


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