Currently viewing the category: "Solitary Bees"
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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: Cave bee?
Location: Chinhoyi caves 17°21′0″S 30°07′30″E
February 10, 2016 11:03 am
This pretty blue bee? was in the Chinhoyi caves near Chinhoyi in Zimbabwe. It was in the large open access tunnel between the entrance and The Sleeping Pool so it might just have wandered in from the pool.
It was about 2 cm long and made a continuous buzzing sound like a bee. There was only the one bee and it was flying around as if it was exploring the walls. It didn’t seem to want to leave the cave but was just exploring the walls.
My nephew took the photos but he is happy for me to send them to you as he also wants to know.
The first photo is just the bee. The second includes a dead spider which might help for scale and also shows the side view although it is a little blurred. The third photo is just to show the tunnel where we saw it.
Signature: Upapa Epops

Solitary Bee

Solitary Bee

Dear Upapa,
Though we cannot identify your solitary blue Bee at this time, we are posting your lovely images and we hope to get some input from our readership.

Solitary Bee

Solitary Bee

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.

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

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Four-Toothed Mason Wasp?

Location: Selangor, Malaysia
November 13, 2014 1:45 am
Hi,
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
Megachilinae
to me.  Any opinion?
It is from Malaysia.  Thanks
Daniel

Eric Eaton confirms our suspicion
Daniel:
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….
Eric

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,
Sofia

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Mystery Wasp?
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
May 26, 2014 12:55 pm
Hi, I have been a big fan of your site for many years! There is some type of ground-burrowing wasp with blue wings that makes a nest in my yard every year. I usually see activity (little piles of dirt) around May, and by June or so it always seems like the nest is abandoned, and I never see any more signs of life until the following year. The nest spot in the ground is a patch about 2′ x 2′ with multiple holes.
This year, the nest seems larger, and there has been lots of activity. The creatures are about 1″ long, have blue wings, black bodies, and fat legs – especially the “hind” legs.
So far, they do not seem to be aggressive, but I would love to find out more about them.
Thanks!
Signature: Harry

Dusky Winged Andrena

Dusky Winged Andrena

Dear Harry,
We believe these are Mining Bees in the genus
Andrena, and the closest match we were able to locate on BugGuide, from nearby Virginia, is the Dusky Winged Andrena, Andrena obscuripennis.

Dusky Winged Andrena

Dusky Winged Andrena

Dusky Winged Andrena

Dusky Winged Andrena

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination