This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Mr Thomas Meehan, in a note in the Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club, says: "I find that the behavior of bees is governed by circumstances. When flowers are abundant they visit those only which they prefer; at other times they examine anything which comes in their way. At the time I am writing, May 18, there is a dearth of garden flowers. Those of the early spring are gone, and the later ones are not well formed. But Columbines in many species are in bloom. The humble bee bores the ends of the nectaries and sucks the honey stored there; and the honey bee follows and sucks from the same hole what may be left, or what may be afterward generated from the honey gland. I have often watched closely to learn whether the honey bee bored for honey. Its quick motions are unfavorable to correct observation. I thought once I had caught it boring lilac flowers, but I afterward counted all the flowers that had been bored by the humble bee, and then watched the work of the honey bee on the cluster, and there were no more bored afterward than before.
The Columbines (Aquilegiae), with curved nectaries, such as A. vulgaris and A. Olympica, are very favorable for observation, as the slit is made on the upper side of the curve, and the honey bee can be easily seen following after the crumbs that have been left on the strong one's table. I have no doubt, however, that it would bore for itself if it had the power, and perhaps it sometimes does. The humble bee and the honey bee are evidently not the insects for which the Columbine had this beautifully contrived nectar cup provided to induce cross-fertilization; and what particular insect was designed to be the favored one, so that it, and no other, could turn its tongue around these twisted spurs to get at the honey in the end, I think no student has yet discovered." - Scientific American.