Currently viewing the category: "Bees"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: bees
Location: Saudi Arabia- Madinah
April 21, 2015 8:27 am
Hi!
I’ve found a strange bee, it’s smaller than Common bees.
Signature: M.A

Solitary Bee

Solitary Bee

Dear M.A,
This is some species of Solitary Bee, and we will continue to search in the hope of providing something more specific.  We didn’t see anything that looked like a good match for the distinctive abdominal markings on your individual when we searched Gordon’s Solitary Bee Page.

Sue Dougherty, Andrea Leonard Drummond liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Mystery bug hiding on lupine
Location: Sunol-Ohlone Wilderness, CA
April 15, 2015 7:31 pm
I was taking a photo of the bee on the lupine, and only noticed later the insect that was upside down on the stalk. I have no idea what it is, can you please help me identify it?
Signature: R. Battaglia

Solitary Bee shares Lupine with Snakefly

Solitary Bee shares Lupine with Snakefly

Dear R. Battaglia,
The insect hiding along the stalk of the lupine is a Snakefly, in the order Raphidioptera, and according to BugGuide:  “Both larvae and adults are predatory, though they are capable of catching and killing only small and weak prey. Snakefly larvae feed on eggs and larvae of various insects, as well as adults of minute arthropods (e.g. mites, springtails, barklice, and homopterans). Adults typically prefer aphids but may eat a wide variety of arthropods.”
  Though females possess an ovipositor that resembles a stinger, Snakeflies are harmless to humans.  We are very curious about your Solitary Bee because of our interest our own in native pollinators and their relationship to native plants.  This may be a Leafcutter Bee in the genus Megachile, and BugGuide has many subgenera represented, but alas, we would need input from someone with more experience to provide a definitive identification.

Dear Mr. Marlos,
Thank you for the Snakefly ID.  Regarding the bee, although that particular picture was taken in Sunol, I do have a healthy population of leafcutters in my yard in Pleasanton, as evidenced by the many notched leaves of my Redbud.  I’ve had a fabulous collection of native pollinators in my yard this year!
Thanks again,
Robyn

Carol Love, Kathy Haines, Andrea Leonard Drummond, Sue Dougherty, Claire Kooyman liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: is it a bee?
Location: Oahu (Hawaii)
April 14, 2015 11:58 am
I live in Hawaii. I often see black carpenter bees around my lavender plants. Lately, I’ve seen a bright honey colored bee? that is on flowers on the fence. It is huge, and very aggressive. It flys very fast. Is he dangerous?
Signature: jean

Male Carpenter Bee

Male Carpenter Bee

Dear Jean,
Often female Carpenter Bees like you describe are very long lived, as they have to excavate tunnels in wood to serve as a nest for the young, and the nests need to be provisioned with pollen.  Many Carpenter Bees exhibit extreme sexual dimorphism, with males looking like entirely different species, as is the case with the Valley Carpenter Bee.  Male Valley Carpenter Bees are bright golden yellow, and they are very territorial, hence the aggressive behavior you observed, but since they lack stingers, they are perfectly harmless.  The much less aggressive females are capable of stinging, but we have never heard of a person being stung by a Carpenter Bee.  Male Carpenter Bees do not live as long as females, so you have probably never noticed them before.  The Sonoran Carpenter Bee,
Xylocopa sonorina, has been introduced to Hawaii, and males are golden in color

Sue Dougherty, Amy Gosch, Jaye Ridet, Andrea Leonard Drummond liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Black ?wasp ?beetle ?bee
Location: Merida, Yucatan, Mexico
April 7, 2015 7:47 am
I found this bug in my pool. It is about 35mm long and entirely black. the abdomen is hard shinny black. I can not find an image at the many bug related ID sites and was hoping you could help!
Signature: Jeffrey Scherer

Female Carpenter Bee

Female Carpenter Bee

Dear Jeffrey,
This is a female Carpenter Bee, probably a Valley Carpenter Bee,
Xylocopa varipuncta.  Females are capable of stinging, but they are not aggressive bees.

Andrea Leonard Drummond, Sue Dougherty, Amy Gosch liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: bug in the algarve, portugal
Location: lagos, portugal
February 26, 2015 12:02 pm
Hi, i found this in the mouth of my four month old puppy this morning, just wondering if it dangerous?
Signature: clare curry

Hi, have managed to find out, it is a violet flower bee

Violet Carpenter Bee

Violet Carpenter Bee

Dear Clare,
Though you have identified your Carpenter Bee,
Xylocopa violacea, we are happy to post the image to our site.  According to TrekNatureReadily identified by its color, this handsome solitary bee flies in summer and autumn and again in spring, after hibernation.”  We don’t know what your weather is like right now, but we are speculating this sighting occurred on a warm day which brought the Violet Carpenter Bee out of hibernation.

Jacob Helton, Andrea Leonard Drummond liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Unknown Very Small Bee Species
Location: Lamar county, South Mississippi
December 25, 2014 6:14 pm
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=f95_1347056701
Above is a link to a video I posted of an unidentified bee species I found in my back yard one day. I realize the video isn’t the best quality but it’s all I have. They were so small once I left the area I couldn’t find them again to obtain a specimen. I can tell you my finger seen in the video is 2 cm wide, exactly, if you can use that for size reference.
If you pause it near the end you can get a decent profile of it and it’s characteristics. They lived in a small hole which was guarded by the abdomen of a colony member. They appeared to be gatherers but were so fast I couldn’t see what they were bringing back. My first impression was that I was looking at a queen fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) ready to swarm as the bees had amber, shiny bodies just like fire ants. But their flight characteristics said bee to me. They weren’t aggressive when I probed the opening with a small piece of grass, they just removed it and continued to keep the entrance sealed with an abdomen.
I have passed this video around to a few local entomologists and they keep telling me bees don’t get that small and they can’t tell without a specimen. All the research I have done has produced similar looking insects like Sphecodes but I can’t find any that fit into this size range.

Thank you.
Signature: Steven Cimbora

Bee or Wasp???

Bee or Wasp???

Dear Steven,
Your video shows what appears to be a Mining Bee in the family Andrenidae.  According to BugGuide:  “Many small, ground-nesting bees observed in areas of sandy soil are members of the family, Andrenidae. Characteristics of this family (of which there are approximately 3000 species) are: Small size, 20 mm, (or smaller) brown to black in color, and nesting in a burrow in areas of sparse vegetation, old meadows, dry road beds, sandy paths. Although the nests are built in close proximity of one another, the bees are solitary (each female capable of constructing a nest and reproducing). Many species are active in March and April when they collect pollen and nectar from early spring blooming flowers. The female bee digs a hole 2-3 inches deep excavating the soil and leaving a pile on the surface. She then digs a side tunnel that ends in a chamber (there are about 8 chambers per burrow). Each chamber is then filled with a small ball of pollen and nectar. An egg is laid on the top of each pollen ball and the female seals each brood chamber. The emerging larval bees feed on the pollen/nectar ball until they pupate.”  We are shocked that your local entomologists have no knowledge of these native, small, ground-nesting Mining Bees.

Head of a Mining Bee preparing to exit

Head of a Mining Bee preparing to exit (from our archives)

Thank you for the quick response.
I just wanted to point a few things out that run contrary to the Mining Bee’s description based on my personal observations of them.
I observed fellow nest members guarding the entrance with their abdomen, as seen in the video.
The nest entrance is perfectly clean of any mounding or tunnel waste and I observed more than one bee leave and return to the entrance. A few times there were several hovering near it waiting to enter.
The size range of 20 mm or smaller is starting out at the width of my finger, seen in the video which is 20mm or 2 cm wide. I would estimate their size at about 5 mm at best and that was the bigger ones.
As you watch the very beginning of the video, right before I put my finger in frame, you will see one depart then another come to the entrance and block it with it’s abdomen. This is not a solitary bee as the mining bees are described as being. They also appeared to lack the pollen brush associated with Mining bees.
Thank you for the effort and if I can ever find them again I will definitely get a specimen.
Steven Cimbora

Thanks for getting back to us Steven.  We have tagged the posting as Unidentified and we have included a screen shot from the end of your video.  Perhaps one of our readers has an idea what Hymenopteran this might be.

Update:  January 4, 2015
Mr. Marlos,
I am providing a new link to some more footage of the unknown bees I found in my back yard. There is much more footage of their activity and it is stabilized. It also shows the presence of more than one bee occupying the nest at a time (Entrance guard) and better footage of their flight characteristics.
I went ahead and scaled some screen shots to try and get a better measurement of them and I came up with approximately 3.2 mm in length. I did this by scaling a screen shot of my finger until it measured the same as actual, using Gimp2 software to measure with. I then took a screenshot of the bee in flight and scaled it to the same dimensions and then measured it. The opening measured approximately 1.1 mm.
You might also find better images to capture and post in this footage as well.
Thank you for your time.
Steven Cimbora
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdMJJITjT-Y&feature=youtu.be

Andrea Leonard Drummond, Sue Dougherty liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination