Honey Bee on Goldenrod


Joined August 2008

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Artist's Description

East Greenbush, N.Y.
August 2008 Olympus 510
Honey bees (or honeybees) are a subset of bees, primarily distinguished by the production and storage of honey and the construction of perennial, colonial nests out of wax. Honey bees are the only extant members of the tribe Apini, all in the genus Apis. Currently, there are only seven recognized species of honey bee with a total of 44 subspecies though historically, anywhere from six to eleven species have been recognized. Honey bees represent only a small fraction of the approximately 20,000 known species of bees. Some other types of related bees produce and store honey, but only members of the genus Apis are true honey bees. (wiki)

Goldenrod is used as a food plant by the larvae of various Lepidoptera species (see list of Lepidoptera that feed on goldenrods). The invading larva induces the plant to form a bulbous tissue mass (called a gall) around it, upon which the larva then feeds. Various parasitoid wasps find these galls, and lay eggs in the larvae, penetrating the bulb with their ovipositor. Woodpeckers have learned to peck open the galls and eat the insect in the center.

Inventor Thomas Edison experimented with goldenrod to produce rubber, which it contains naturally. Edison created a fertilization and cultivation process to maximize the rubber content in each plant. His experiments produced a 12 foot tall plant that yielded as much as 12 percent rubber. The rubber produced through Edison’s process was resilient and long lasting. The tires on the Model T given to him by his friend Henry Ford were made from goldenrod. Examples of the rubber can still be found in his laboratory, elastic and rot free after more than 50 years. However, even though Edison turned his research over to the U.S. government a year before his death, goldenrod rubber never went beyond the experimental stage. (wiki)

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