In B.C, there are six categories of pollinators that help our farm thrive. Our bug friends are essential in the development of our plants. Many of these little creatures probably frequent your very own backyard. In this article, we will be going over some of the pollinators that we see in our farm. We will also tell you how to identify them and what their importance is.
Follow along bee-low, to learn more about pollinators!
The Western Honey Bee
The Western honey bee is a long-tongued bee in the Apidae family. These bees are scientifically known as the apis mellifera. Honey bees are incredibly important in agriculture, specifically in crop pollination. This species of bee carries pollen on its legs. The pollen is stored in pollen pockets which look like little sacs on their thighs. In North America, the honey bee is the only bee to produce honey for humans to eat. Fun fact, most honey bees require beekeepers to survive. Moreover, these buzzy creatures are native to Europe and live in hives.
Honey bees can be identified by a few key characteristics. When you are identifying a honey bee, it is important to look at the shape and size of its body. Generally, honey bees have long narrow bodies, with black and yellow striped abdomen. They have four wings and are roughly the size of a nickel (3cm). A honey bee can vary in colour from dark brown to light orange or yellow. They can also be somewhat fuzzy around the head and thorax.
These bees live in social colonies with all different types of other honey bees. For instance, the worker bees, the drones, and the queen. Interestingly, male drones do not have stingers.
The Bumble Bee
Bumble bees are a fan favourite at our lavender farm in Kelowna! These super fuzzy dudes love to hang around the lavender on our property. Just like honey bees, the bumble is a part of the Apidae family. In a bumble bee colony, there’s a Queen and workers. Bumble Bees are native to North America and they usually live in a nest underground.
People can easily identify bumble bees by their fuzzy bodies and deep buzzing noise. These bees are of medium to large size with round bodies. Depending on the bumble bee’s social status and nutrition, it will be bigger or smaller. Similar to the honey bee, bumble bees carry pollen on their legs. A bumble bee has visible stripes of yellow, orange, black, and/or brown on its abdomen. There are a few different variations of the bumble bee. For instance, the yellow-faced bumble bee, the white-shouldered bumblebee, the mixed bumble bee, the common eastern bumblebee, and more!
Other Bees on Our Lavender Farm in Kelowna
Other bees that you may see in British Columbia are a part of several different families. In the Halictidae family are a number of short-tongued bees that make their home in the ground similar to a bumble bee. They are often characterized by their “pollen pants” because they carry pollen on the entire length of their legs. One example of a bee in this family is the green metallic bee. This bee has a bright, shiny green colour across its body.
Next, is the Andrenidae family. These bees are also short-tongued and nest in the ground. These bees carry pollen on the thorax and back legs. Furthermore, they have short hairs on their face called facial fovea.
Penultimately is the Colletidae family. Bees within this family are sometimes referred to as polyester bees. They secrete a waterproof lining around their nest in order to keep the babies safe from bacteria, water, and fungus in the dirt. These bees also have pollen pants and a raindrop-shaped abdomen.
Lastly, the Megachilidae family is home to bees who carry pollen on the bottom of their abdomen. This is also sometimes called a “hair belly”. Moreover, bees in this family tend to have rounder and wider bodies than other families of bees. Some of the bees in the Megachilidae family are metallic blue and green and others are yellow and black.
Butterflies Love Our Lavender Farm in Kelowna
Butterflies are a cherished species of pollinator that fly the skies of our province. These beautiful insects are colourful and can be identified by their intricate wing patterns. Butterflies have four large wings and vary in size and colour. They feed on nectar during the daytime and thrive in grasslands and meadows. There are nearly 187 species of butterflies that can be found in British Columbia. However, only a few of the species can be seen in the city. Butterflies are about 12cm in size. Swallowtail and monarch butterflies are commonly seen in the Okanagan Valley.
Contact Us About Our Lavender Farm in Kelowna.
The pollinators of our lavender farm in Kelowna help us grow our crops. If you are interested in purchasing lavender, contact us today. Check out our lavender products for sale before they’re gone! We look forward to handling your order.