Currently viewing the category: "Bees"
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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.

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Subject: Unknown Very Small Bee Species
Location: Lamar county, South Mississippi
December 25, 2014 6:14 pm
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

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Subject: Green Orchid Bee
Location: 76016 Arlington, TX
November 29, 2014 2:50 pm
This was taken today in Arlington, TX. We’ve seen several of these today humming around the garden. Temps are unseasonably warm, but will cool down tomorrow.
Signature: Lisa Parisot

Metallic Green Sweat Bee

Metallic Green Sweat Bee

Dear Lisa,
To the best of our knowledge, the Green Orchid Bee is not found in Arlington, Texas.  It is an introduced species and according to BugGuide it is a member of a:  “neotropical group, with 1 sp. established in so. FL and recorded from southernmost TX (Brownsville)”
  This is a Metallic Green Sweat Bee in the subfamily Halictinae, and you can read more about them on BugGuide where it states:  “Most species nest in burrows in banks or in the ground (Augochlora uses partially rotten logs). Some are primitively eusocial; in such cases usually a female guards the entrance to the burrow by plugging it with her head. Generally the main burrow is vertical; it sends horizontal branches, each branch ending in a solitary cell.”  It can be very difficult to identify Metallic Green Sweat Bees to the genus or species level from images. 

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Subject: Giant wood-boring flying insect
Location: Rural Bangladesh
November 20, 2014 7:13 pm
My husband took this picture in rural Bangladesh. He says it was a wood-boring insect, about 3 inches long, and that it died right in front of him (he didn’t kill it). The eyes and wings are just amazing.
Signature: Lisa C.

Carpenter Bee

Carpenter Bee

Dear Lisa,
This amazing insect is a Carpenter Bee in the subfamily Xylocopinae.  The female tunnels in wood, creating several nursery chambers that she provisions with pollen.  She lays an egg in each chamber so that her developing larva will have a food source.

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Subject: First time to see this kind of bee
Location: Flowers on the backyard of the house & also on the farm
November 13, 2014 1:16 pm
Aloha bugman,
Can you identify what kind of bee is this please? Never saw something like this before! Mahalo! :)
Signature: L. Rocknash

Sonoran Carpenter Bee

Sonoran Carpenter Bee

Dear L. Rocknash,
We are guessing by your greeting and closing that you are from Hawaii.  This is a male Carpenter Bee, and we learned on BugGuide that the Sonoran Carpenter Bee,
Xylocopa sonorina, a non-native species, can be found in Hawaii.  Females are black and males a beautiful golden color.  This image from FlickR depicts a male Sonoran Carpenter Bee in Hawaii.


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Subject: Four-Toothed Mason Wasp?

Location: Selangor, Malaysia
November 13, 2014 1:45 am
I found this one clinging (though it’s dead) to the curtain in the bedroom. The most similar insect I’ve been able to find via google is the four-toothed mason wasp, but it seems to differ quite significantly. What do you make of it?
We live next to a green area (a golf course), including a lake with a seemingly thriving ecosystem.
Thanks in advance!
Signature: Kind regards, Sofia

Possibly Solitary Bee

Megachilid Solitary Bee

Dear Sofia,
There is a superficial similarity between your Hymenopteran and the Four Toothed Mason Wasp, but we believe your individual is a solitary Bee.  We have not been able to identify it.  We will get a second opinion on our speculation that this is a bee.

We write to Eric Eaton
Hi Eric,
This looks like
to me.  Any opinion?
It is from Malaysia.  Thanks

Eric Eaton confirms our suspicion
You are correct.  I submitted the image to the Hymenopterist’s Forum on Facebook to see if anyone recognizes the species.  There are folks from all over the world on that group, so I expect we’ll have an answer shortly….

Karl makes a similar identification and provides some links to images
Hi Daniel and Sofia:
Based on the wing venation that is so clearly visible in Sofia’s excellent photo, I believe this has to be a Leafcutter or Mason Bee (Family Megachilidae). I wasn’t able to locate an image of this exact bee from Malaysia but I did find several very similar images of bees in the genus Megachile from Thailand, Australia and Kenya. Regards.  Karl

Thank you so much for looking into this! Now I’ve learned something new :)
I did suspect that the similarity to a four-toothed mason wasp was merely superficial, but my google searches were limited by my almost non-existent bug vocabulary and bug knowledge.
Best regards,

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