Pollinator power!

I love walking through the garden on a sunny morning to check out the pollinators visiting giant yellow squash flowers. Bumblebees seem particularly keen on them. Their movement is so – well, bumbling, that I got interested in the etymology of the word. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say on the subject:

The word “bumblebee” is a portmanteau of “bumble” + “bee” — “bumble” meaning to hum, buzz, drone, or move ineptly or flounderingly.[51] According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), the term “bumblebee” was first recorded as having been used in the English language in the 1530 work Lesclarcissement by John Palsgrave, “I bomme, as a bombyll bee dothe.”[52] However the OED also states that the term “humblebee” predates it, having first been used in 1450 in Fysshynge wyth Angle, “In Juyll the greshop & the humbylbee in the medow.”[53]

These bees are so excited about squash flowers they actually wait in line:

Queue for squash flowers

A bee hovers (left), waiting for the current occupant to have his fill.

Sometimes, two can squeeze into one flower:

Two bees in a flower - NC Garden Gals

Two bees enjoy a squash flower. A pollinated flower begins to bear fruit, upper right.

I sure am grateful for the service these little guys do for us!


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