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Strictly Drinks Only, No Sex

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  • Strictly Drinks Only, No Sex

    We have two large courgette plants in our garden. The female flowers have to be pollinated for the fruit to develop.

    After a sparsity of bees, in the very hot weather, quite a few have been seen during the last couple of days but they have mostly been visiting the flowers of lavender or goldenrod.

    Casual observations of the courgette flowers found no bees visiting, such that we had to hand pollinate. During the recent few days, I have noticed a lone wasp (Vespula making occasional visits to an open female flower. This morning I saw it visit again and decided to watch (kneeling) and photograph this activity. After some initial, low magnification shots I removed two petals to permit low angle views.

    The wasp* was drinking from the circular, trough-like nectary round the base of the stigma. At no stage did it touch the pollen-receptive surface of the stigma. So no pollination was likely to occur, if there had been any pollen. There being no male flowers in our garden, it was academic anyway.

    * I don't know whether it was more than one wasp or just one enterprising individual.

    Olympus EM-1 (aperture priority), Olympus 4/3 x2 TC, Olympus 4/3 50mm f2 macro, f8 (first) f9 (remainder), hand-held.


    The body is willing but the mind is weak.