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Can You Explain this Behavior?

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  • muczynski.sharon
    At the native plant nursery where I am a research assistant, I noticed honey bees flying around the native poplars. Some of the trees have fungus on their
    Message 1 of 5 , Nov 26, 2011
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      At the native plant nursery where I am a research assistant, I noticed honey bees flying around the native poplars. Some of the trees have fungus on their leaves, that looks like pollen. The bees were landing on the fungus. Now, I have heard that poplars have resinous buds. I don't know if that had anything to do with this odd behavior or is just about the fungus. It was also sunny and warm in that part of the nursery. My manager was concerned that the bees would spread the fungus. I didn't think it was a big deal. I think this time of the year, just before leaf fall, fungus happens. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
    • Suzanne Koptur
      Many poplars have extrafloral nectaries, glands at the base of the blade, and it could be the bees are collecting this nectar! Many plants have nectaries of
      Message 2 of 5 , Nov 27, 2011
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        Many poplars have extrafloral nectaries, glands at the base of the blade, and it could be the bees are collecting this nectar! Many plants have nectaries of this type, and in most cases they attract beneficial insects for plant protection, such as ants, wasps, and other predator arthropods. Extrafloral nectaries often make more nectar in sunny, warm situations. Could it be this?
        Suzanne
        --

        Suzanne Koptur, PhD
        Professor of Biological Sciences
        11200 SW 8th St.
        Florida International University
        Miami, FL 33199 U.S.A.
        ph. 305-348-3103; FAX 305-348-1986
        email: kopturs@...
        http://www.fiu.edu/~kopturs
      • Sharon Muczynski
        It is true they collect resin from the buds, but I think they were mostly collecting fungus. Also i found out that the fungus is Melampsora, and bees sometimes
        Message 3 of 5 , Nov 27, 2011
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          It is true they collect resin from the buds, but I think they were mostly collecting fungus. 

          Also i found out that the fungus is Melampsora, and bees sometimes collect it and bring it back to their nests. It is thought to add nutrients or to make up for the lack of flowers. Fungus apparently has a high percentage of amino acids.

          I googled and found this:


          The fungus seems to be a common occurrence this time of year.
          Best Regards,
          Sharon Muczynski LEED® AP
          Graduate Student in Conservation Ecology




        • Peter Bernhardt
          Dear Ms. Muczynski: Oh yes, pollinating insects do spread fungal spores. Some spores are believed to mimic pollen grains (e.g. teliomycete stage in rusts)
          Message 4 of 5 , Nov 28, 2011
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            Dear Ms. Muczynski:

            Oh yes, pollinating insects do spread fungal spores.  Some spores are believed to mimic pollen grains (e.g. teliomycete stage in rusts) while others produce an infection that resembles a flower and sdecretes a nectar-like exudate containing a specialized spore (spermatia). It is such a successful case of deceit in nature that we know of one case where evolution "flip-flopped" and an orchid flower "pretends" to be an infected-rotting leaf to attract flies.  Google my name and Cypripedium fargessi.  

            The big question is, have you had the fungus identified?  Dr Peter Kevan <peponapis@...> can tell you a lot about the fungus that attacts commercial blueberries and is spread by insects.  

            Sincerely, Peter Bernhardt 

            On Sun, Nov 27, 2011 at 4:22 PM, Sharon Muczynski <muczynski.sharon@...> wrote:
             

            It is true they collect resin from the buds, but I think they were mostly collecting fungus. 

            Also i found out that the fungus is Melampsora, and bees sometimes collect it and bring it back to their nests. It is thought to add nutrients or to make up for the lack of flowers. Fungus apparently has a high percentage of amino acids.

            I googled and found this:


            The fungus seems to be a common occurrence this time of year.
            Best Regards,
            Sharon Muczynski LEED® AP
            Graduate Student in Conservation Ecology





          • pollinator2001
            ... One thing not mentioned so far is that these are unlikely to be wild, but probably a bee farmer s livestock and the source of his livelihood. Dave
            Message 5 of 5 , Nov 28, 2011
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              --- In beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com, Peter Bernhardt <bernhap2@...> wrote:
              >
              > Dear Ms. Muczynski:
              >
              > Oh yes, pollinating insects do spread fungal spores.


              One thing not mentioned so far is that these are unlikely to be wild, but probably a bee farmer's livestock and the source of his livelihood.

              Dave
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