Bees collecting nectar and pollen from Bush Grape (Cayratia mollissima) flowers

on 16th January 2019
Common Honey Bee with pollen basket packed with yellow pollen.

I have always been observing bees visiting my Bush Grape (Cayratia mollissima) plants in the evenings. What I observed was that the Dwarf Honey Bees (Apis andreniformis) were busy collecting nectar from the flowers. Their proboscis was always probing the flowers. The stamens had already dropped. And all the bees’ pollen baskets or corbicula, found on the hind legs were devoid of pollen. What was interesting was that the few bigger Common Honey Bees (Apis cerana) that were foraging together with the Dwarf Honey Bees had their pollen basket packed with yellow pollen, probably obtained from other flowers.

Dwarf Honey Bee with pollen basket packed with yellow pollen – arrowed.

One morning I visited the Bush Grape flowers and found that their stamens were intact in the freshly opened flowers. But what was interesting was that many Dwarf Honey Bees had their pollen baskets similarly packed with yellow pollen. As usual, there were a few bigger Common Honey Bees around and their pollen baskets were again packed with yellow pollen. The video below shows both species of bees collecting pollen and nectar from the Bush Grape flowers.

Pollen from the flowers will stick to the hairs on the bee’s body. These pollen will subsequently be “swept” up and packed into the pollen basket. Try catching the bees doing this in the video.

YC Wee
28th December 2018

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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