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Bombus - Bombus bimaculatus

Bombus - Bombus bimaculatus
Tippecanoe County, Indiana, USA
July 3, 2007
Size: ~ 12 mm
Close-up of attached "thing". The yellow parts are about 1 mm long. Its attached at the end of the tarsi between the claws.

Images of this individual: tag all
Bombus - Bombus bimaculatus - female Bombus - Bombus bimaculatus

Moved from Bumble Bees.

Milkweed pollinia
I missed this entry before. Yes, it is milkweed pollinia, very nice close-up. You can disctinctly see the dark part that joins the two (yellow) pollinia together as a saddle bag.
I have something about milkweeds and visitors here.

The "thing" appears to be a p
The "thing" appears to be a pair of pollinia from an orchid. Which orchid, I cannot tell. It's unusual, though, I think, that the pollinia are attached to the bee's foot. Perhaps the bee scratched it off its body somewhere.

Pollinia, by the way, are pollen masses. Orchids usually use an all or nothing strategy of pollination. Very few other plants use pollinia. Milkweeds do, but I'm unaware of others.

May more likely be Milkweed
While orchid pollinia do usually wind up on the face or the top of the head, milkweed pollinia do end up on the feet. The bumblebee has to slip its foot in a tiny slot among the flower parts as it is hanging on the milkweed flower taking nectar and its foot will catch these pollen saddlebags. Then she has to rip her foot free tearing loose the pollinia. If she is not strong enough, she may just be trapped and die there. It is not unusual to find bees hanging from milkweeds dead for no reason except that they cannot extricate their leg. Many of the less common native milkweeds are suffering because honeybees outcompete native bees for food, but are not strong enough to pull out the pollinia, so the milkweeds go unpollinated. Great image!

Thanks for the comments
I never knew this about milkweeds. Very interesting.

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