Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Spring Things 2013

Here at the Museum, it's a busy time--not just for people, but for animals, too!  I caught a few busy insects over the last few weeks.  When you think of "busy" do you think of ....bees?  Yep, around here, the bees are definitely "busy as bees!"  Here's a photo of a honeybee--note the "pollen baskets" on her hind legs.  When a bee goes from flower to flower, not only does she drink up nectar to take back to the hive to make honey, she'll also pack pollen onto her back legs.  Bees will mix nectar and pollen together and make "bee bread" a food that is fed to developing larvae.  In this photo, the bee is flying to redbud flowers:
Recently, our hive here at the Museum swarmed.  When a new queen is born, the old queen usually leaves and takes part of the hive with her and leaves--or "swarms" to establish a hive in a different location.  Our hive is on exhibit on the upper floor of the Museum.  The hive exhibit and has a clear short tube that connects with a window then passes to the outside.  Visitors can watch the bees in the hive working and watch as the worker bees come and go into the hive.  By the way, did you know that all the worker bees are female?  As the bees swarmed, they gathered on the outside of the window and hung in "chains" or masses of bees all holding on to each other:
Springtime is also the time when moths that have over-wintered as cocoons now emerge as adults.  This beautiful polyphemus moth (spotted by fellow educator Judy Molnar--thanks, Judy!) had just emerged and was perched on a window outside the Wason Education Center.  Ironically, it was sitting on the butterfly decal on the window (the decals help prevent bird strikes.)  The second photo is a close up of the moth's antennae.  I can tell this moth is a boy--males have "feathery" antennae that are bushier than females':
That's all for now..more in two weeks!

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