Hi, my name is Ellen and I’ve always been interested in insects. I’m currently a PhD student at the University of Oxford working at the Oxford Bee Lab. I look at the nutrition of different UK pollens for bumblebees.
One of the reasons bees visit flowers is to drink the sugary nectar they produce as it helps give them energy for their intensive flight. Bees feed from flowers by poking their tongue, known as a proboscis, into the flower and lapping up the nectar. In some flowers the nectar is easy to reach so can be collected by lots of different insects. But some flowers want to restrict the number of different insects that take their nectar by hiding it deeper inside. The foxglove below has tall thin flowers, which means only bees with long tongues can reach the nectar. These long-tongued bees are more likely to visit other foxgloves. This increases the flowers' chances of pollination with the same species.