Newspaper Archive of
The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
April 18, 2018     The Monroe County Reporter
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April 18, 2018

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".~.pril 18, 2018 porter Page 3B i:MONROE OUTDOORS by Terry W. Johnson spring the azaleas growing in my yard have produced an un- I ~aralleled floral show. Since ithe azaleas are chock-full of !blooms, each shrub seems i~o be literally shrouded i ~th a blanket I ~fcolor. Unbe- i ownst to me, plany of these ~, ~gorgeous blooms victims of ; obbery. I made this ; iscovery while I admiring the. ', !arge George :Tabor azaleas TERRY W. , #ncxrclmg a ',Chinese chestnut tree standing alongside my garage. The shrubs' delicate pink, trumpet-shaped blos- soms seemed to glow in the golden sunshine of late afternoon. Suddenly I noticed scores of large carpenter bees fly- ing from bloom to bloom. I assumed they were land- ing on the flowers' showy petals and then crawling , down the long throats of the blooms to reach the nectar housed at the base of the flowers. To my amazement, this was not the case. When each bee landed on a flower, it immedi- ~,i!di!iiiii:~!![~!! i~ i~ ~ ~ ~75!i~i!)~ less for quite some time before flying to another bloom. I first thought the carpenter bees were collect- ing nectar that had some- how seeped out between the flower's petals. However, that night I asked my good friend Dr. Jerry Payne, a retired research entomolo- gist, what he thought the carpenter bees were doing. He explained they were feeding on nectar through small holes they JOHNSON chewed in the petals. He went on to say that if I closely examined flowers visited by the carpenter bees, I would find the holes. Since the carpenter bee is much too large to fit through the narrow neck of the azalea blossom, the only way that it can feed on the blossom's nectar is to take an alternative route. One solution to this prob- lem is to cut a hole into the base of the flower Where the nectar is located. The next morning, as expected, the carpenter bees were hard at work feeding at the George Tabor azalea blossoms. When I examined the spots flowers nearby, many of them also displayed feeding portals cut by the bees. Shortly thereafter, my wife noticed a wasp feed- ing at one of the holes created by a carpenter bee. I am certain the wasp is one of man)) other animals that take advantage of the oppommity to feed on nec- tar that otherwise would be unavailable to them. The carpenter bees' odd behavior is called nectar . robbing. It is considered a form of larceny because the carpenter bee avoids contact with the reproduc- tive parts of the flower and does not aid in pollination. The first person to report this fascinating behavior was the German naturalist Christian Konrad. In 1793 he recorded bumblebees robbing nectar from flow- ers. Even Charles Darwin wrote that he observed bumblebees doing the same thing in 1859. Many other animals practice nectar robbing, including various species of ants, wasps, birds, and mammals. The only other animal I have seen robbing nectar is the orchard ori- ole. Each summer I enjoy watching orchard orioles that nest in my backyard slit open trumpet creeper blossoms to feed on the A carpenter bee chews its way into an azalea blossom to feed. on the nectar. (l~hoto/Terry Johnson) base of these showy orange flowers. For years, I have wit- nessed carpenter bees rob- bing nectar from blueberry blossoms. I have never noticed that their nectar larceny affected my blue- berry crops. Studies have shown that nectar robbing does not seem to have a negative impact on seed or fruit production. I can also attest that this form of rob- bery has not has a negative effect on the azalea flowers that have been victimized by the bees this spring. Interestingly, during the recent telecast of the 2018 ately scrambled down the where the bees were feed- nectar that collects at the Masters Golf Tournament, outside of the blossom to lng, sure enough, 1 iouna me juncture otthe petals the short longitudinal slits ^ and the green sepals Once aescrlDea Dy ur. eayne. there it remained motion- When I checked other ButlerCaldwell, DVM- L-- i [ []pairs [ 951 Hwy 41 South Forsyth, GA 31029 [ 478 994 8228 s [ 1. Preventative Medicine including ], Comprehensive medical management, rill! [i il idriz[: Dell [[[; [: including diabetes and heart disease ~ e," ;.Surgery Boarding the flowers. Based on my recent discovery, I suspect the bee was robbing nectar from azaleas adorning the hallowed grounds of the Augusta National Golf Course. I urge you to take the time to walk around the azaleas blooming in your yard. Chances are, you will either find carpenter bees feeding or the tiny slits they cut in the bases the blos- soms. This evidence will prove that larceny even occurs in the serene setting of your back-yard. I noticed, in one instance, when the camera provided viewers with a dose-up of some of the azaleas grow- ing on the course, a car- penter bee flying around Terry Johnson is retired Program Manager of the Georgia Nongame-Endan- gered Wildlife Program. He has written the informative column 'Monroe Outdoors' for the Reporter for many years. Email him at tjwoodduck@bellsouth, net. Internal Medicine Associates of Middle Georgia WELCOMES Nurse Practitioner ALLISON BOWDEN to our Medical Team Front: Nurse Practitioner Allison Bowden Back L/R: Nurse Practitioner Lisa Goodwin, Dr. Craig Caldwell, Nurse Practitioner Tammy Barnett & Dr. Jeremy Goodwin Internal Medicine Associates of Middle Georgia g7 (478) gg4-1010 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr Forsyth, GA 31029 Monday- Friday: 8:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. MEYER CARDIOLOGY, PC MONROE COUNTY Dr. Thomas Meyer, Cardiologist HOSPITAL Monroe Regional Medical Complex 88 Martin Luther King Jr Drive 120 NI Lee Street Forsyth, GA 31029 Forsyth, GA 31029 Comprehensive Cardiac Services / Call (478) 745-7456 Call (478) 994-2521 WALKER CHIROPRACTIC CLINIC PIEDMONT Dr. Steven Walker ORTHOPEDIC COMPLEX 255 Tiff College Dr Forsyth, GA 4660 Riverside Park Blvd Mon - Wed, Fri: 9-6 Thun, Sat. by Apt Macon, GA 31210 Physiologic Therapeutics Mon - Fri: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm Chiropractic Sports Physician Call (478) 474-2114 Call (478) 745-7456 Toll Free (800) 338-5141 Local Health Professionals specializing in keeping the MIND & BODY in the best shape possible. 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PINSON, DVM DMD Animal Medical Clinic of Forsyth 205 Medical Court Forsyth, GA 31029 60 South Jackson Street Forsyth, GA 31029 Mon - Fri: 8:00 am - 5:30 pm Mon - Thu: 8:00 am - 5:30 pm Sat: 8:00 am- 12:30 pm General Dentistry Call (478) 994-1171 Call (478) 994-4986 CALDwELL VETERNIARY HOSPITAL, LLC GEORGIA DERMATOLOGY Butler Caldwell, DVM Russell Harris, MD 951 Hwy 41 South Forsyth, GA 31029 Deborah Moore, PA-C 101 Martin Luther King Jr Drive Forsyth, GA 31029 CaldwellVet'c m Call (478) 994-4986 Call (478) 994-5281 PRIMARY PET CARE Affordable Pet Care On The Move! Dr. Kevin Smith Mobile Veterinarian Forsyth, GA 31029 Call (478) 973-7733 Monroe Regional Medical Complex 120 N. Lee Street Forsyth, GA 31029 Comprehensive II IOLOGY, P.C.