First Bumblebee of the Year…for Me
On May 17, 2012, I visited a coastal tallgrass prairie remnant just south of El Campo in Wharton County with Texas Parks and Wildlife Botanist Jason Singhurst (Texas prairies Guru). Unfortunately, most of the prairie had already been hayed but the landowner did leave stripes uncut along the edges and in the center that contained flowering plants. After about 20 minutes surveying the flowers I had my first bumblebee sighting. I snapped up the bumble in a petri dish (my preferred method of capturing bees on flowers). It was an American bumblebee (Bombus pensylvanicus). Over the next hour I spotted three more individuals of that species foraging for pollen along the uncut strips. So, three individuals in all. Not great, but I was excited to see bumbles after last year’s historic drought. I will be hitting a few more coastal prairies this summer – hope to see more bees!