Subject: Darlene in Torrance: Bee! No, Fly! No, Bee!
Location: Torrance, CA
June 29, 2013 11:21 am
I found a deceased bee today.
Conversation in my head: That’s an awfully big bee! No, it’s a fly – look at the eyes. Look how close together they are. That means it’s a male. Or does that mean it’s a female? I can never get that straight.
No, it’s a bee – remember the first thing in keying: it has four wings and flies only have two.
Of course it’s a bee!
Wait. It has a mustache between the eyes. Maybe it’s a robber fly. No, wait, the mustache is in the wrong place and the body shape and legs are all wrong.
Of course it’s a bee! (But that’s an awfully big bee!)
Signature: Always Keying in my Head Darlene from Torrance
Hi Always Keying in my Head Darlene from Torrance,
Are you the very Darlene that attended National Moth Week last year in Elyria Canyon Park? Can we expect you to attend our 2013 National Moth Week event this year?
We are very excited about this submission. This is a Honey Bee Drone which we first found pictured on the California Backyard Orchard website. Much like you, we pondered the size of the eyes that are fly-like on the body of an apparent bee. We did a web search for “big eye bee California” and found the photos and this amusing text from the California Backyard Orchard website: “Drones–remotely piloted aircraft used in reconnaissance and target attacks–are in the news, but so are the other drones–male bees. This time of year drones are as scarce as the proverbial hen’s teeth. They’re not needed in the hive now–just extra mouths to feed–so their sisters are booting them up. They’re basically evicted, cold and shivering, from the hive. Drones are easy to identify: big eyes, bulky body, and lumbering movements. It’s best to be a drone in the spring. When a virgin queen goes for her maiden flight, a group of drones will mate with her in the drone congregation area. The drones die shortly after mating. If they don’t mate, then they’ll die before winter sets in.” We then verified the identity on BugGuide. This is the first Drone Honey Bee photo we have ever received. Thanks for the submission.
Yes, it’s me, the bug wrangler from last year’s moth week event. I’m planning on attending again this year.
I find it amazing that a dead bee I picked up is one you never received a photo of before.
Once, at Bio-Quip’s open house, there was an insect collection contest. I submitted mine from entomology class. I didn’t win, but Dr. James Hogue noticed my female Tipula oleracea crane fly and put it in the L.A. Natural History Museum collection because it was only the third of its kind he had ever seen in southern California.
You are awesome Darlene. I’m so excited you are coming back. We might have to give you an award for traveling the farthest to Mount Washington.