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

Subject: Washington State Solitary Bee
Location: Washington, USA
June 23, 2016 11:40 pm
I found this odd unfurred black bee roaming around while we were planting flowers, and we figured it must be some sort of solitary bee, as there was only one at the time.
Signature: Wesley Grubbs

Leaf Cutter Bee

Leaf-Cutter Bee

Dear Wesley,
We believe this is a Leaf-Cutter Bee in the genus Megachile, a large and diverse genus.  It resembles the image of
Megachile relativa which is pictured on BugGuide, and the species has been reported from nearby British Columbia.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Unusual bees in Southern California
Location: 90066
June 22, 2016 5:48 pm
I’ve been seeing these bees in my garden occasionally, and I haven’t been able to identify them. It’s about the size of a honey bee, but fuzzier and grayer. They seem to like yellow flowers best, especially cosmos. Do you know what they are? Where can I find more information about them?
PS: Great web site. This is an incredibly helpful resource.
Signature: Sunny in Mar Vista

Solitary Bee

Possibly Furry Leafcutter Bee

Dear Sunny,
According to BugGuide, there are 3500 species of Bees in North America.  We are guessing your white bee might be a Furry Leafcutter Bee,
Megachile perihirta, based on this BugGuide image, and according to BugGuide‘s data, there have been California sightings from May through October.  We will attempt to identify your second Solitary Bee, though we may just contact Eric Eaton to get his input as we anticipate difficulty securing an accurate identification if left to our own devices.

Solitary Bee

Solitary Bee

Thanks for the information. I didn’t realize these were 2 different species.

Solitary Bee

Solitary Bee

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Baby it’s hot out here!
Location: Mesa , Arizona
June 20, 2016 4:10 pm
Hi
I thought you might get a kick out of this photo of what I believe is a drone carpenter bee. It climbed up on my finger while I was out on my patio today. I think it found the surface of my skin much cooler than the 116 degree surface of my table. That is in the shade by the way. I finally persuaded it to leave my finger and perch on the side of a plant pot. I felt guilty for leaving it out there while I returned inside my house, but since it is native I’m sure it it’s taking the heat better than us mammals. Stay cool everyone!
Signature: Toasty Arizona nature lover

Male Valley Carpenter Bee

Male Valley Carpenter Bee

Dear Toasty Arizona nature lover,
This is indeed a male Valley Carpenter Bee.  Males are shorter lived than females who need to construct and provision a nest after mating.  In Los Angeles, male Valley Carpenter Bees are generally flying in the spring and long gone by the time summer arrives, so they don’t compete with females for food.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Large Flying Bug
Location: Maryland Eastern Shore
June 12, 2016 5:58 pm
I found this guy with a large bumblebee in its grasp. I searched extensively but got nowhere. Thanks for your help!
Signature: Nick

Red Footed Cannibalfly eats Bumble Bee

Red Footed Cannibalfly eats Bumble Bee

Dear Nick,
Large Robber Flies are arguably the most adept aerial predators in the insect world.  Dragonflies are larger, but they don’t tend to prey on larger insects, mainly satisfying themselves with mosquitoes and smaller prey.  Not so large Robber Flies that tend to prey on bees and wasps.  Your individual is a Red Footed Cannibalfly,
Promachus rufipes, a species that begins to make a regular appearance among our identification requests beginning in June, and continuing through the hot summer months.  The Red Footed Cannibalfly is also called a Bee Panther.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Metallic Green Bee or Sweat Bee
Location: Toronto Canada
June 16, 2016 9:39 am
I have had a nest in my garden for about 6 years (it is a no dig zone). Thought I would share a photo with you. Great site! Have an awesome summer.
Signature: Scott Morrow

Metallic Green Sweat Bee and Nest

Metallic Green Sweat Bee and Nest

Dear Scott,
We love your image of a Metallic Sweat Bee hovering near her nest so much we are going to feature it this month.  According to BugGuide, Sweat Bees in the family Halictidae are:  “typically ground-nesters, with nests formed in clay soil, sandy banks of streams, etc. Most species are polylectic (collecting pollen from a variety of unrelated plants).”  We also want to commend you on your “no dig zone” which will protect the young that are developing in the nest.  We wish more of our readers were as sensitive to the environment as you are.

Wow…i am honoured!!
There is a ‘but’ though…I have been seeing small red and black bees landing on the nest site. To the best of my research they may be trying to attack the nest of the green bees (cleptoparasites I think they were called). I don’t like to alter how real life happens but I love my green bees…any suggestions?
Scott

Hi Scott
We are sorry to hear about your disappointment.  We are hoping you are able to provide an image of the “mall red and black bees.”  They sound like they might be members of the genus
Sphecodes, based on this BugGuide image.  According to BugGuide:  “Cleptoparasites, usually of other Halictinae.”

My apologies if it came across as being disappointed. I am very happy in fact.
I will try to get a picture but they are quite small and fast to fly away.
Thanks again.
Scott

Hi Scott,
Sometimes electronic communication leads to misunderstandings.  We interpreted your love for your green bees to mean you were disappointed that they were being Cleptoparasitized by the black and red relatives.  On a positive note, we doubt that all of the Green Sweat Bee young will be lost.  We eagerly await a potential image of the Cleptoparasite.

Update:  June 24, 2016
Hi Daniel
This is the best I managed to get. The Green Bee guard is blurred but can be seen in the centre of the photo.
Even though I love my Green Bees I will not harm or harass the red ones as this is what nature does.
Be well and have a great buggy summer.
Scott

Cleptoparasite Bee

Cleptoparasitic Cuckoo Bee

Hi Scott,
Thanks so much for the update.  We are confident that the red bee is a Sweat Bee in the genus
Sphecodes which is well represented on BugGuide, though we would not entirely rule out that it might be a Cuckoo Bee, Holcopasites calliopsidis, based on the images posted to Beautiful North American Bees.  That would take far more skill than our editorial staff possesses, though according to BugGuide it is a diminutive “5-6 mm”.  We will contact Eric Eaton to get his opinion.  While we feel for your affection for the Metallic Green Sweat Bees, we do not believe the presence of the red cleptoparasitic  Bees will decimate the population of the green bees.  Nature has a way of balancing out populations, and when food is plentiful, populations flourish.  Your “no dig zone” is diversifying in its inhabitants.  To add further information on cleptoparasitism, we turn to BugGuide where it defines:  “cleptoparasite (also kleptoparasite) noun – an organism that lives off of another by stealing its food, rather than feeding on it directly. (In some cases this may result in the death of a host, for example, if the larvae of the host are thereby denied food.”

Correction Courtesy of Eric Eaton
Daniel:
The cleptoparasite is a Nomada sp. cuckoo bee.  The host bee is Agapostemon virescens, by the way.  Never seen a turret on their nest entrance that was so tall!  Nomada is a genus in the family Apidae (formerly Anthophoridae).
Eric

Ed. Note:  When we first responded to the Cleptoparasite response, we suspected we might be dealing with a Cuckoo Bee and we prepared a response with BugGuide quotes including “Wasp-like, often red or red and black and often with yellow integumental markings” and “cleptoparasites of various bees, primarily Andrena but also Agapostemon and Eucera (Synhalonia) (these are usually larger than the Andrena cleptoparasites). (J.S. Ascher, 23.iv.2008)  males mimic the specific odors of the host females and patrol the host nest site.”  We were going to console Scott with the information that his Green Sweat Bees were most likely being scoped out by male Cuckoo Bees who had not net mated with a female, the real cleptoparasite.  Next time we will trust our first impression.

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Flying insect outside
Location: Northern New Jersey, Bergen County
May 28, 2016 2:09 pm
There are lots of these flying inspects in my yard. Some kind of bee, hornet? Should I be worried about them stinging me or my kids?
Thank You
Signature: BuggingOut

Eastern Carpenter Bee

Eastern Carpenter Bee

Dear Bugging Out,
This is an Eastern Carpenter Bee, which you can verify by comparing your individual to this and other BugGuide images.  Though they are not aggressive, female Eastern Carpenter Bees are capable of stinging.  We are postdating your submission to go live to our site in mid-June while we are out of the office.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination