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Sunflower and Honeybee on a Kenyan Morning

My name is Dino J. Martins, I am a Kenyan entomologist and I love insects. The Kiswahili word for insect is dudu and if you didn’t know already, insects rule the world! Thanks to the amazing efforts of the ‘little things that run the world’ I was humbled to be selected as a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. This blog is a virtual dudu safari through the fascinating world of bugs. Enjoy, leave a comment and send any questions or comments to me through: insects.eanhs@gmail.com

I am back in Kenya after various hectic travels. There is a sunflower on the breakfast table and I watched a honeybee visit it this morning in the dreamy African sunshine…

Sunflower in morning light
Sunflower in morning light
Honeybees love sunflowers!
Honeybees love sunflowers!

The honeybee was after pollen – here is a close up of the anthers:

Anthers - the part of the flower that bear pollen
Anthers – the part of the flower that bear pollen

The honeybee lifts itself into the air and hovers, gently combing the pollen from its body into the pollen baskets on its legs.

Honeybee combing pollen into it's pollen baskets while hovering.
Honeybee combing pollen into its pollen baskets while hovering.

Without honeybees, the sunflowers would not be well pollinated and would not produce the sunflower seeds that are made into oil and many other useful and delicious things. The honeybees on the sunflowers are both beautiful to watch and also to know that they are making the sunflower seeds happen through pollination.

The honeybees collect the pollen for their own use. They feed it to their larvae, which helps them grow into healthy strong bees. The sunflower produces lots of pollen, and the honeybees spill it and rub it around as they move about the flower. This results in pollination. Both honeybees and sunflowers benefit from this arrangement. A truly balanced partnership (or love affair!) from Nature.

More from the world of bugs soon!



  1. Camron Maurice
    February 17, 2014, 9:22 am

    Beautiful pictures, great article and amazing information, thanks to National Geographic for giving us the best of best.


  2. Mark Benson
    December 23, 2011, 4:21 am

    This is an example of true beauty; the bee and the sunflower and how Mother Nature has set some things for the creatures to operate. You are on a holiday trip to Kenya and you get to see this marvellous scene; it sure is delightful.

  3. Reenen
    South Africa
    December 18, 2011, 1:32 pm


  4. Barbara
    Michigan, USA
    December 18, 2011, 11:59 am

    Thank you for sharing these wonderful photos..seems that honeybee was posing.