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Pampas Grass

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Mike a 

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My wife was busy working away in the summer house in our back garden and looked up to see what the noise was in the garden, to her surprise she could see a mass of 50 - 60 honey bees on the flowers of our pampas grass coming and going constantly about midday. She double checked to make sure they we're collecting pollen and it wasn't a mini swarm or a late queen mating.



Normally the flower heads go mouldy but this year with the very dry weather we've had the flowers are much bigger and very fluffy. The bees are going mad for the pollen, if the flower is given a gentle shake a massive cloud of pollen can be seen.

I'll try and take a picture to add to our pollen colour chart.
 

Mike a 

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Just tapping the stem gives off a cloud of pollen



Picture of the bee with the yellow pollen was take using my wifes camera phone.
 

Cazza 

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I've learnt something new today, thanks Mike. I will study my pampas grass closely.
Cazza
 

victor meldrew 

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My pampas grass flowers much later than yours. I've never seen anything working it ,probably too late :bigear:

John Wilkinson
 

Mike a 

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This is a rare treat for us as well, normally it flowers but there is very little pollen and it turns mouldy and dies very quickly. So to find honey bees collecting large amounts of the pollen was a real shock as I didn't think they worked pampas.

My wife took some video but it will need some serious editing and will only be a few seconds long. I'll post the edited best parts in the video section soon.
 

the naked beekeeper 

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Thanks for that Mike a.

Here's another pic from the web substantiating it...bees like Pampas grass!!

 

richardbees 

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Mike, thanks for that!

I've got a big clump of Pampas v close to the bees but don't actually ever look at it closely - it's just a feature to break up an ugly gable end - but did notice in passing this afternoon that the plumes have recently appeared

---can't wait until tomorrow!

Richard
 

Heather 

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Yep, My flowers are not even in early bud yet. Pampas out when bees are dormant- but this crazy weather- who knows.
 

Mike a 

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Working Pampas

[ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0gyISZAOU8[/ame]

Strange they turned up on-mass and only worked it for a very short time during the hottest part of the day.
 

Lois 

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2 colonies now! and some spare parts.
Brilliant.

I heard it was a tradition in the 70's to have a pampas in the front garden in the middle of the lawn, if you were a 'swinging' couple. Is there something your not telling us?:reddevil:
 

Heather 

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Oh Lawks- mine in back garden- am I a secret swinger. Or just live too near Brighton:redface:
 
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Gardenbees 

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:hurray:Wow! That's so cool! Great pics Mike a.
Ya learn something new every day.... I have a pampas grass but I think they need a certain combination of weather (& hot sun) to actually produce any pollen. I hope mine does: I'd love to see the bees weaving in and out of the fluffy pampas. A neat source of late pollen.
 

Mike a 

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Not sure what to say now.

Not more than the odd bee on the pampas today, the weather was just as good as yesterday and the pampas has plenty of pollen left. Seems strange they went mad for it yesterday and not today.

Instead they were after the nectar from this plant, which I think belongs to the mint family and always has plenty of honey and bumble bees on it through September when it is in flower.



If you rub the leaves you get a mint like scent but it didn't have a label with it when we got it from the garden centre some years ago.
 

Polyanwood 

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I am amazed the bees went on pampas at all. It is a grass and bees don't usually pollinate grasses, they are usually pollinated by wind. You may have seen something quite unusual, and now we have too. Thanks.
 

richardbees 

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I checked mine this afternoon, they look as if they are fully open but I can't see any pollen - maybe it's too damp and cloudy.
 

PaleoPerson 

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After reading this thread, I had a call from the owner of a house where I had been asked if I could put a colony in his garden.

The colony is a largish nuc and are my most gentle bees and are in there to 'test the waters' so to speak and has been in place a month now.

So I was quite shocked when he said he had been attacked by the bees when he was clearing some dead bits out of his HUGE pampas and they then followed back to the house stinging him and his wife some 5 times each.

I rushed down immediately, thinking that they were collecting pollen from this en-mass and he had waded into it with various tools.

Checked and sighed in relief, bees good as gold, there was one or two that were on the grass, but the culprits were wasps, they have a nest in the base of the plant and he had attacked it accidentally with a rake.

Confirmation of bees on Pampas, and that wasps do not like rake wielding gardeners.
 

Mike a 

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Mike A, is it Bugleweed?
Its very close in looks but I don't think so. Here is another picture of the whole plant.



The steams are long and straight with pairs of leaves on opposite sides. The flower opens about September and lasts a couple of weeks.

Here is a close up

 
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I think it is phacelia? Looks very similar
 

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