Facts About the Destructive Bees
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Facts About the Destructive Bees

Facts about destructive bees. Bees are not friendly insects as you think they are.

If you think all bees are flower-friendly, then you are wrong. At least this is the discovery this author made when he did a random survey of flowering plants in the wilderness of Apurawan, Aborlan located west of mainland Palawan in the Philippines. 

He noticed an unusual swarm of small bees while walking along a gravelly road in an area of a forest more than a hundred meters above sea level. There may probably hundreds, if not thousands of those small bees swarming about a section of the road. He could hear the humming sound and was a bit wary of being stung. They appear to be harmless as they circle overhead and alongside while he walks. 

Small, Destructive Bees

He climbed up on the side of the road to take a photograph of a wild plant with large, light violet flowers. He did take a shot of another flower a few moments earlier but the flower was far away and details of its features could not be made out.

A few steps up the incline of eroding roadside soil and he was finally real close to the attractive flower. Alas, to his dismay, the flower was not as pristine as the other flowers he had photographed. Five small bees and a fly apparently had destroyed its petal and stamen (see below).

wild violet flower eaten by bees

The small bees (typically less than 10mm long) called "ligwan" by the local folks are literally destroying the stamen of the flower to get their food. Unlike other bees that just sip the nectar out of the flower, the small bees are actually munching their way, and storing the juicy part of the flower on their abdomen and hind legs. A closer look at one of the bees reveals this fact.

destructive bee

This is the first time this author noticed such phenomenon of destructive bees. Bees are well-known to be friendly insects that pollinate flowers because of their nectar and pollen-collecting activity. As bees hover from one flower to another, the process of fertilization takes place. 

In the above case, it seems that the bees are the only ones benefitting from the feeding activity because parts of the flower are being destroyed. It is not clear, however, if indeed the flowers do not benefit from the bees. It is possible that parts of the flower emit such odor that attract the bees for some reason.

This observation demonstrates that there are still many things in nature that are not described in the books. Curiosity coupled with a keen eye can reveal interesting findings that add more information that help unravel the unique processes that occur in nature. 

Bees are not as flower friendly as they seem to be.

©27 May 2011 Patrick A. Regoniel Facts About the Destructive Bees

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Comments (3)

wow this is quite interesting

have you reported this to any scientists? I am sure a biologist would be interested in your observations.

Ah well, I'm a biologist myself. This could be a good thesis for students.