Subject: Black Bee
Location: Faribault County, Minnesota
August 9, 2016 12:12 pm
Greetings, What’s that Bug Volunteers!
I am happy to say the bug activity in my Rain Garden is finally picking up. I was wondering how long that would take, so I am now relieved. I watched a Leaf Cutter Bee cut a leaf and fly off with her prize for her nest. I witnessed a Monarch Butterfly lay an egg on a Milkweed stem. I’ve seen TWO Great Black Wasps on the Milkweed. The Soldier Beetles are back in abundance, as are the Cicada Killer Wasps. The Northern Paper Wasps like getting drinks at the birdbath. And the aphids are emerging on the Milkweed so I expect the lacewings and lady beetles will soon arrive, along with those tiny parasitic wasps.
The photos I’ve attached are of a black bee which has proven quite challenging to photograph. I finally caught it on a late Miniature Hollyhock blossom over this past weekend. I like the pollen sacs on the legs. I have Bumble Bees of various sizes in my garden; this though does not appear to be a Bumble Bee.
Can you help me out?
Blessings to one and all,
Wanda J. Kothlow
Signature: Wanda J. Kothlow
Hi again Wanda,
How nice to hear your rain garden is thriving. We just hear yesterday that Southern California may be expecting a dry “La Niña” winter next winter, though since our predicted wet “El Niño” winter last year was a bust, all bets are off on what will really happen. In our memory, miniature hollyhocks are about an inch across, which would make this black Bee about half that. Are we correct? We suspect this might be a Carpenter Bee, and we are requesting assistance from Eric Eaton as we cannot provide you with anything specific at this time.
Eric Eaton Responds
Female of the Two-spotted Longhorned Bee, Melissodes bimaculatus. Males have antennae about twice as long as the females.
author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America
Greetings, Daniel et al!
Yes, your memory is correct. Miniature Hollyhocks (Sidalcea sp) blossoms are an inch or just a tad larger. Quite prolific here and terrific pollinator draws; not as magnetic as Milkweed, Liatris or Monarda, but still good draws.
Speaking of milkweed, I noticed an overabundance of Large Milkweed Bug nymphs last week. And I do mean overabundance. The aphids don’t annoy me since I know my integrated past management system will address that issue. The large Milkweed Bugs though, well I guess I live with them or remove a colony here and there with snippers and a plastic bag …
Exciting to hear I can add a new insect to my list of photos! A female Two-spotted Longhorned Bee! WooHoo! She’s quite a “tease” in that she never landed long enough for me to focus and photograph until recently. Glad she was hungry long enough for me to take her picture!
Hope you are safe where you are in CA; I keep praying for rain where it is needed and dry where it is too wet.
Thank you yet again for your assistance in helping my insect list grow!
Wanda J. Kothlow