Can you please help me identify some mystery pollinators
Dear Bugman,
I really appreciate your site and the information that you share, your photos and descriptions have helped me identify several mystery insects, including sweat bees, hover flies and bee killers, and I’m hopping that you might be able to help me identify a few more. I have attached three photographs of separate insects, all of which appear to be pollinators which I have found in my yard. I have recently taken an interest into native pollinators since I have taken up the hobby of beekeeping. I truly admire the labor of these critters, I just wish I could identify them by name. I think I know the identity of two of my submissions, I believe one to be a ‘blue orchard mason bee’, and the other I think is a photograph of two separate ‘leaf cutter bees’, perhapses alfalfa leaf cutters. Both of these apparently solitary insects last spring and summer had taken to laying eggs in a nesting block I installed in my garden.

Leafcutter Bee Orchard Mason Bee

The last picture is of a critter that has me confused as to it’s true identity. This bumble bee sized fly-like creature is pictured on a stevia plant (aka sugar herb), but seems to also like holly and basil flowers, they however completely avoid catnip in bloom, which is odd as it seems to attract every other pollinator I’ve seen in my yard. They seem to be particularly prevalent around my beehive, though this may simply be coincidence. Can you help me identify this last specimen, and confirm my beliefs on the previous too? Any help that you could lend would be much appreciated.
Robert Engelhardt

Hi Robert,
We will post your images of the Orchard Mason Bee and Leafcutter Bee and see if we can get an exact species names for you. Meanwhile, your mystery pollinator is a Beelike Tachnid Fly, Bombyliopsis abrupta. The adults drink nectar, and the larvae are internal parasites on caterpillars.

Update From Eric Eaton
“Yes, the left one is a female Megachile sp., though not the one he thought it was. The right one is a male Osmia sp., no telling which one from the image alone. Both are very nice images. Eric”

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