Buttercups have been in bloom around these here parts for the past couple weeks (before that the weather was cold and miserable most of the time).
I’ve never seen a honey bee on a buttercup, but I know they go for buttercups, so I’ve added buttercups, or Ranunculus, to my Newfoundland Honey Bee Forage list.
May 30th, 2020: This plant is sometimes referred to as Creeping Buttercup, which is toxic to grazing animals. I’ve seen honey bees on buttercups a few times, but apparently there is some concern that it could be toxic to honey bees too. If it is, I doubt honey bees will bother it. They’re usually good at avoiding things in the natural environment that aren’t good for them.
June 22nd, 2020: Well, I finally saw honey bees on buttercups:
The bees didn’t stay on them for long, but they seemed willing to give them a taste.
I thought buttercups were not popular with bees as they mainly rely on spreading via underground roots rather than insect pollination.
I didn’t think honey bees were big on buttercups either, but apparently they go for it. I found examples of honey bees on buttercups from Honey Bee Suite and several other online sources.
I’ve never seen a honey bee on a butter cup myself, though I’ve never seen a honey bee on a blueberry blossom either, but they will forage on blueberry plants. Perhaps not their favourite flower, but good enough when there’s nothing else around? Maybe?
Hands down, their favourite source of pollen looks like Sorrel, which I have growing in a large patch right in the middle of my beeyard. It’s low to the ground and the pollen is dry, powdery, easily floating away when disturbed, but the bees are all over it. I walk by and wonder, “Where’s all that buzzing coming from?” Then I bend down and see the bees hanging on to almost every stalk of Sorrel in the patch. I wish I could get a good shot of it because it has the look of a miniature forest which has the effect of making the bees look giant. But it’s very difficult to photograph.
I think you’re right, probably a desperation visit as a last resort. Watching the bees on the sorrel sounds fun.