Sunday 5 June 2011

Nectar from cherry leaves

I was watching male bumblebees around the cherry tree a few days ago when I saw some honeybees around. On close inspection, I noticed they were visiting extrafloral nectaries, little red swellings in the petiole of cherry leaves, which secrete nectar, usually taken by ants. The bee would visit several leaves in succession, but being high in the tree, it was tricky to get good shots. I noticed an early bumblebee, Bombus pratorum, doing the same. So, even when not in bloom, cherry trees are producing nectar used by bees and bumblebees. Many other plants have these nectar glands, including willows, cherry laurel and plums.
honeybee sucking nectar from the nectary
Male Bombus pratorum doing the same
A close up of a cherry extra floral nectary


Ed said...

Thank you for this blog, we were wondering what the bees were doing in our garden to the cherry tree (long after the flowers had gone).

I checked the branches and there are tiny odd shaped ruby red nodes that they seemed to be feeding off.

It beats our theory that they were wrapping themselves up in the curled new leaves. :)

Africa Gomez said...

Thank you for commenting Ed. My plum tree is now covered on honeydew of aphids and tree bumblebees land on the leaves and lick them to get the honeydew. Butterflies also do this, especially in the autumn. Wasps visit my cherry tree and I still haven't found out why, they do look like they are wrapping themselves in the curled leaves!

Africa Gomez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.