Currently viewing the category: "Nests"
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: Isodontia mexicana?
Location: South Central Texas
June 6, 2016 6:26 am
Howdy Bugman – I think we have the Frank Lloyd Wright of Grass-carrying wasps. Can’t think of anyone else that will appreciate this as much as me – happy Monday. 😀
Signature: Debbie Littrell Ventura

Grass Carrying Wasp Nest

Grass Carrying Wasp Nest

Dear Debbie,
That is one impressive Grass Carrying Wasp Nest.  Will you be suspending use of your hose until after the emergence?

Sure going to try. My garden hose using spouse is not nearly as impressed, but I’m working on his sensibilities. Have a fab week, Daniel. 😀

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: bumble bees
Location: Alabama
May 24, 2016 2:26 pm
I seen a bumble bee flying around one of my birdhouses and I went a little closer see it. Two of them got after me and stung my right ear!! I’ve attached some photos.
Signature: Jerry Lee

Bumble Bee Nest in Bird House

Bumble Bee Nest in Bird House

Dear Jerry Lee,
Bumble Bees frequently nest in abandoned bird houses.  Bumble Bees are not aggressive, but they will defend a nest.  We would urge you to allow these native, beneficial pollinators to live in your bird house and to watch them from afar.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What’s this nest?
Location: Sterling, Virginia Usa
May 13, 2016 1:22 pm
Hi !
My mother in law lives in Sterling Va
And has got this nest in the eves of her porch.
We Would really like to know what it is!
Many thanks
Signature: Rich

Solitary Bee Nest

Solitary Bee Nest

Dear Rich,
This is the nest of a solitary Bee that has been provisioned with pollen to feed the developing larvae.  We suspect it is a Mason Bee Nest based on this image on Warren PHotographic.  Solitary Bees are not aggressive and this nest poses no threat to your mother in law.

Thanks Daniel!
And thanks for the speedy reply!
I’ll let her know. She’ll be relieved it’s not a wasps nest.
All the best to you and your team.
Rich.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Wasp or hornet
Location: Costa Rica near Arenal Volcano
April 7, 2016 9:31 am
Could you tell me what type of bug this is? Wasp or hornet? What kind? Does it sting?
Thanks!
Signature: Paige

Carton Wasp Nest

Carton Wasp Nest

Dear Paige,
Upon researching your request, we first encountered out own posting of Warrior Wasps,
Synoeca septentrionalis, and we believe your images depict the same species.  Alas, not all websites have the longevity that we enjoy, and several of the links from our 2014 posting are no longer active.  We did locate new images on American Insects that identify two members of the genus, Synoeca septentrionalis or S. surinama, as Carton Wasps, and this information is provided:  “Synoeca species are distributed from Mexico to Argentina.  The genus is a small one, with five described species (Andena et al., 2009).  Wasps in this genus are swarm founders, with a queen and a number of workers moving together to a site for a new nest. Swarm founders (which also include other genera such as Agelaia and Polybia) make large and elaborate nests, usually inside an envelope.  In certain other paper wasp genera, nests are founded by a queen without the help of workers, and typically the nests are smaller and exposed (Nadkarni and Wheelright, editors, 2000).  Two species of Synoeca are yellowish overall:  S. chalibea and S. virginea.  The other 3 species are bluish to blackish. Wings are dark. Nests house about 200 individuals and are often attached to a leaning tree; if disturbed, the wasps inside making a drumming noise.  As the nest grows, its external surface has transverse corrugations looking like an armadillo’s back, hence these wasps are locally referred to as ‘armadillos’ or ‘cachicamas.'”  According to the National Science Foundation:  “In some areas of South America, the local name for this species is ‘armadillo wasp,’ in reference to the form of the nest. When mildly disturbed, the workers will produce an ominous rhythmic sound by rubbing against the nest paper. In Costa Rica, they are euphemistically called ‘guitar players.’ Upon further disturbance, they are capable of mounting a ferocious attack, and the stings are reputed to be exquisitely painful. The sting apparatus is barbed, and will often embed in the skin of the unlucky nest predator. This wasp is mimicked by many less-dangerous insects, presumably to gain protection from the resemblance.”  We really enjoyed researching your request.

Carton Wasp

Carton Wasp

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Are these bees? Are they dangerous?
Location: Guatemala
March 2, 2016 3:38 pm
Hi,
I have two types of bees (?) in my back patio. One type is big in size and just starting a nest, very slowly (they seem to take forever, it has been the same size for weeks) and I only see like 4 or 5 of them (see picture 1).
The other type are much smaller but they have a much bigger nest (see picture 2).
My question is the ones you see on picture 1, are they dangerous? They look a bit scary.
Thanks!
Signature: Danielle

Paper Wasp Nest

Paper Wasp Nest

Dear Danielle,
Your first image depicts the construction of a Paper Wasp nest, most likely a member of the genus
Polistes.  Like other social wasps, they will defend the nest from an intruder or attacker by stinging, but they are not considered aggressive.  We tried to search species from Guatemala, and we found this image on ABC Wildlife that appears to be the same as your species, but there is no name provided.  Here is a similar nest from our own archives.  Your other nest appears to be a Hornet Nest.

Hornet Nest

Hornet Nest


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination