20th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Natural World
Mustard and Bee - A honey bee gathering pollen from mustard plants.

Mustard and Bee Napa was begun to revive celebrations of Mustard Season in the Valley, a time of year when the cover crop changes the vineyard landscapes with its brilliantly yellow highlights. It is a transformation that many look forward to, in a similar manner as to the colors of autumn. I was out in one of the first areas to blossom, taking shots of the mustard by itself, when this bee came along, and changed my focus to the plant and the pollinator working the crop. While doing so, I noticed the yellow patch on each of its hind legs but didn’t know what they were. Some research afterward, informed me that honeybees have specialized long hairs on their back legs that they weave into baskets to hold more pollen to deposit when they return to the hive. This one was obviously good at that. Bees are the only insect that manufacture food that humans eat, and though they are on the smaller end of the team, they are a crucial part of keeping things going.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 12.2021
Date Uploaded: 11.2022
Photo Location: California, United States of America
Camera: Canon EOS R5
Copyright: © John Comisky