the thistle and the bees

thistle with bees
thistle with bees

We’ve allowed more areas of the garden to stay a little bit wild this year, and we’ve been rewarded with many beautiful wild flowers and grasses. Some of the most striking are these thistles, which stand waist high. They’re just starting to bloom, and they have proved to be an instant hit with the bees. I counted at least six different types of bee on this one plant.

The interesting thing is that the bees don’t seem to buzz busily around the thistle flowers as they do with most other flowers. Instead, they land on the blooms, then become almost immobile, and stay there for a prolonged period. I assume that this has something to do with the shape of the flowers, and they way they are collecting the nectar, but it really does look as if the bees the have been drugged, and are in a happy stupor. Can anyone out there shed any light on this – are the bees really getting high on our thistles?

With so much concern at the moment about the future of our bees, I really do urge you to leave a wild patch in your garden if you possibly can, even if it’s just a tiny corner. Even one good sized thistle can make a big difference.

3 thoughts on “the thistle and the bees

  1. Heavenly picture and I rather hope the bees are high as kites on your thistles! I only have a balcony and grow herbs in pots on it … the oregano is attracting bees and I am thrilled to feel a little part of helping their survival. Good to urge people to set aside an area for them to thrive 🙂

  2. I’ve notice same here – and I’ve noticed that the bees (including solitary bess) get absolutely covered in pollen when visiting the thistles too. Great to see so many bees.

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