Mosquitoes do it, too!

!!!!bee-on-monarda-punctataWe tend to not think of mosquitoes as pollinators, but, remember that only female mosquitoes bite. Male (and female) mosquitoes nectar upon plants for the “fuel” with which to complete their life cycle. Female mosquitoes (for the most part) need to take a blood meal to produce eggs.

Mosquitoes even play a special role in the pollination of rare Arctic bog orchids. Here in Florida, they often are found nectaring upon the some of the nectar-rich plants visited by bees, wasps and other flies.

Much research is now directed at mosquito color (& other) preferences in an effort to develop new ways to attract (and eliminate) the container breeding mosquitoes that transmit Zika, dengue, and chikungunya. The floral preferences of bees are much better known.

Bees tend to prefer bright white, yellow or blue flowers with nectar and nectar guides. These flowers are likely to be shallow or tubular and have a “landing platform”. The dotted horsemint in the photo has small white flowers with purple dotted nectar guides. Don’t be fooled by the purplish showy bracts that, at a glance, appear to be petals. Observe how pollen is “conveniently” transferred to the shiny back of the nectaring native carpenter bee (Xylocopa sp.).

Bees do it, and mosquitoes do it: Pollinate!

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