What kind of bees live in my garden, added location info
I will first tell you that I have taken it upon myself to see if I can identify these bees myself. I think they could be the European Dark Bee (Apis mellifera)(?) but the pictures don’t seem to match exactly. The habits of these bees is also very puzzling. In the evening these bees all congregate on my Miscanthus grass in my garden. They cling exclusively to two separate blades of grass and hang out there. They have not built any structure to live in and seem to have collected pollen for no reason at all. They do not seem aggressive but I still used caution taking these photos (that is why they are not very clear) because I am pregnant and thought it would be worth the effort to avoid getting stung by an entire group of angry bees. Can you help me identify these bees?
Thanks for checking into this, I hope this e-mail reaches you, I cannot open your websites home-page and have noticed that the latest request for ID was in ’05. Cheers,
Jessica Strickle

I see your website is up and running again and have also read through some of your scoldings to those who have requested ID. I am in Washington, IL (middle of Illinois) and these bees are about 3/4 of an inch long. If you get a chance to answer this, great! I just thought I might have a better chance with better information. Cheers,
Jessica Strickler

Hi Jessica,
First we feel guilty that you have called us on chastising (we like that better than scolding) our casual readership for not providing us with much needed information. We would never think to chastise you as your letter is so thorough. Yes, our website was down as we had internet connectivity problems, but our Time Warner serviceman, Tom, has assured us that the problem is remedied now. We believe, though we are not positive, that these are Mining Bees in the family Andrenidae. What has us curious is the social aggregation in a solitary species. We are going to request assistance from a true expert, Eric Eaton, on this.

Correction (07/29/2007)
Hi, Daniel:
The bees are all males in the tribe Eucerini (family Apidae), and probably the genus Melissodes, but I can’t be positive. They sometimes congregate like this to “sleep,” gripping a grassblade or twig in their jaws.

Location: washington, Illinois

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