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Why are the bees working the white clover and not the red?


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Which is why Bumblebees were imported.

Yep.  The red is a hybrid and the proboscis of the honey bee is not long enough to reach the nectar.

Study's done in the 1960s by grasslands found that honeybees can and do pollinate red clover.   BEHAVIOUR AND EFFECTIVENESS OF BEES IN POLLINATING LEGUMES I. W. FORSTER Ministry of Agricultu

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Red clover is a pasture plant in many parts of the world, not necessarily a hybrid unless for cropping purposes.  The flowers are more tubular to that of white clover, and as such the bumble bee with a long proboscis is the primary pollinator.  Air temperature and a good pollen and nectar flow is essential for a honey bee to be attracted to it.  In my neck of the woods, you don't often see honey bees working red clover, although in hotter parts of NZ you might.  For white clover to yield nectar and pollen the soil has to be a warm, there needs to be a certain amount of soil moisture, and warm air temperature.  If either of these factors are missing the flower does not yield.  Just because the pasture is full of white clover, doesn't mean the bees are working it.  White clover is wonderful to have near grafting yards. 

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Study's done in the 1960s by grasslands found that honeybees can and do pollinate red clover.

 

BEHAVIOUR AND EFFECTIVENESS OF BEES IN POLLINATING LEGUMES I. W. FORSTER Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Oamaru
 

The pollination requirements of red clover (T. pratense) have received much attention over the years. There does appear to be an accepted’natural affinity between bumblebees and red clover. This has created a strong impression that it is bumblebees and maybe bumblebees alone that effectively pollinated red clover. It is a fact that the tongue of the honeybee is seldom more than 7 mm long and red clover florets are about 10 mm deep. But, as Snodgrass (1925) ’ points out, several appendages of the bee’s head combine to form the proboscis and it is the proboscis that is inserted into the flower. Observations in 1954-5 had shown honeybees to be doing 76 to 89% of the pollination of Montgomery red clover near. Timaru (Forster and Hadfield, 1958). 

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I have Crimson or Italian Clover, Trifolium incarnatum establishing itself at our place. It flowered from Oct-Dec, I cut it back and it’s flowering a second time right now.

 

Trees for bees chart says Crimson Clover flowers Oct-Dec but doesn’t record if it supplies nectar or pollen.

 

On another chart, White clover is recorded as a ‘medium’ protein source (17-25% protein content) by Trees for Bees in their 2014 resource, but neither Crimson or Red are listed .

 

I’m hoping our honeybees can access incarnatums nectar, (?) I can see that the Bombus terrestris accesses this plants nectar or pollen. 

 

Any further feedback on protein contents and colour of pollen in corbicula of Trifoliums would be appreciated. I’m painting a Pollen colour chart and listing pollen protein contents and periods of availability, where possible.

3 hours ago, GoED said:

I have Crimson or Italian Clover, Trifolium incarnatum establishing itself at our place. It flowered from Oct-Dec, I cut it back and it’s flowering a second time right now.

 

Trees for bees chart says Crimson Clover flowers Oct-Dec but doesn’t record if it supplies nectar or pollen.

 

On another chart, White clover is recorded as a ‘medium’ protein source (17-25% protein content) by Trees for Bees in their 2014 resource, but neither Crimson or Red are listed .

 

I’m hoping our honeybees can access incarnatums nectar, (?) I can see that the Bombus terrestris accesses this plants nectar or pollen. 

 

Any further feedback on protein contents and colour of pollen in corbicula of Trifoliums would be appreciated. I’m painting a Pollen colour chart and listing pollen protein contents and periods of availability, where possible.

 

F63CFFE7-90DC-4457-82FF-FA73D52651BF.jpeg

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Have you got most native pollens identified? I am trapping pollen so it is interesting seeing the different colours coming in, at the moment a cream coloured pollen coming in which I think is white rata. S.Rata is green, lotus major is brown, tree fuschia is purple, I have not worked out the colour of Kamahi yet, gorse is orange, flax is red, broom is yellow. I have never identified bush lawyer, hinau or black berry pollens.Great fun.You are doing a great job

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On 19/03/2019 at 4:24 PM, Bighands said:

Have you got most native pollens identified? I am trapping pollen so it is interesting seeing the different colours coming in, at the moment a cream coloured pollen coming in which I think is white rata. S.Rata is green, lotus major is brown, tree fuschia is purple, I have not worked out the colour of Kamahi yet, gorse is orange, flax is red, broom is yellow. I have never identified bush lawyer, hinau or black berry pollens.Great fun.You are doing a great job

Reports on Autumn and Winter pollen load colours in your foragers corbiculae and their plant sources are really valuable...so, if you hear your bees in a tree or plant and have time to take note of the colour and let me know, I would be really delighted.

 

Thank you very much for that precious information for Autumn pollen loads @Bighands ...what a star!

 

Nope- precious few NZ native pollen loads identified. 

 

I have spent a week dredging up Autumn and Winter pollen sources both native NZ and exotic plant sources writing a list of plants and sourcing their reported pollen colours. Google images of bees on plants with full pollen baskets is a dodgy source of information so first hand feedback from the Bee community is better.

 

Kirk’s Collection method for his pollens loads publication led to accurate hues and intensity’s . Tricky to reproduce Kirks colours in gouache, dry is different to wet paint, the way we all see colour is different, etcetera.

 

I have been stuck at my desk this week cross referencing print outs and books.  I’m working through Walsh at the moment so I’m relying mostly on written colour descriptions. Some accuracy is lost in translation to paint and paper. Walsh is my only NZ native source- other than pearls of feedback such as yours @Bighands.

 

When all 4 drafts are completed I’ll send digital images to any interested contributors to this topic. This first artwork has already run out of room so inevitably there will be other versions made according ( to the feedback I get about ) necessary corrections and tonal variations I left out. Strangely, I’m enjoying this slow complex process, the painting is shaping up.

 

Have a great Autumnal week.

 

On 19/03/2019 at 4:24 PM, Bighands said:

Have you got most native pollens identified? I am trapping pollen so it is interesting seeing the different colours coming in, at the moment a cream coloured pollen coming in which I think is white rata. S.Rata is green, lotus major is brown, tree fuschia is purple, I have not worked out the colour of Kamahi yet, gorse is orange, flax is red, broom is yellow. I have never identified bush lawyer, hinau or black berry pollens.Great fun.You are doing a great job

@BighandsSouthern Rata is what end of green? Eg., Very green, slightly green ....Dark or light tone....Olive green, Robin Hood style dark green, yellowish green, beige tinged with green? 

Tree Fuchsia is that a bluish purple, a mauve red toned purple, lilac, dark strong tone or light tone?  I suspect its a deep blue purple

?

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On 3/12/2017 at 7:19 PM, Trevor Gillbanks said:

Yep.  The red is a hybrid and the proboscis of the honey bee is not long enough to reach the nectar.

yep you are correct except the apis-mellifera-carnica the proboscis is 6.5 to 6.7 cm long which gives them that little advantage.

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