Currently viewing the category: "Bees"

Subject:  What are the big shoes on the feet of the bee?
Geographic location of the bug:  Mersin,Turkey
Date: 03/31/2019
Time: 02:07 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello there, I was photographing honey bees in yellow folowers, close to sea. and I was wondering what is on their feet. They look like big shoes.
Thanks for your informations.
How you want your letter signed:  Bees

Honey Bee with full pollen sacs

Dear Bees,
Honey Bees are social insects that visit flowers to gather nectar which the bees store in the hive after converting the nectar to honey.  According to BugGuide, Honey Bees feed on:  “Nectar and pollen from flowers. Pollen is most important in feeding the larvae.”  While visiting blossoms, Honey Bees ingest nectar which is regurgitated upon return to the hive, and pollen is collected on pollen sacs on the hind legs.  The “big shoes” you describe are pollen sacs laden with pollen.  Here is an image from BugGuide of a Honey Bee laden with pollen.

Subject:  Please identify
Geographic location of the bug:  Westville (Ed. Note:  Presumably South Africa)
Date: 02/01/2019
Time: 06:22 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found this beautiful guy but not sure what it is?
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks Tammy

Carpenter Bee

Dear Tammy,
Is Westville in Canada, South Africa, the UK, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, MIssouri, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma or Pennsylvania?  Those are the choices Wikipedia provides.  We are going to guess South Africa.  We found matching images of the South African Carpenter Bee,
Xylocopa flavorufa, on both Alamy and FlickR.  It is also pictured on Discover Life and iNaturalist.

Yes South Africa. Thank you very much.
Never seen 1 before.

Subject:  Bug identification
Geographic location of the bug:  Iraq
Date: 12/12/2018
Time: 11:55 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Mr. Bugman I found this kind of bee or bug on the street and it couldn’t fly for some reason… Its length about 3cm, width about 1cm
How you want your letter signed:  Raf

Carpenter Bee

Dear Raf,
This is a Carpenter Bee and we suspect it is a male because of the golden color.  Carpenter Bees in many parts of the world exhibit sexual dimorphism, meaning the males and females look very different from one another with females having black coloration and males having gold coloration.  See this image from our archives.

Subject:  Sweat Bee?
Geographic location of the bug:  Silverdale, WA
Date: 09/28/2018
Time: 04:28 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I’m not sure if this is a sweat bee (possibly Agapostemon splendens) or some type of Flower loving or Syrphid fly.
It was roughly 1/3 inch in length, give or take a few millimeters.
I’m leaning more towards A. splendens, but to be honest, arachnids and mantises are more my forte.
How you want your letter signed:  Bug aficionado

Striped Sweat Bee

Dear Bug aficionado,
This is definitely a Metallic Sweat Bee in the family Halictidae, and we believe you have the genus
Agapostemon correct as well, however, the species Agapostemon splendens is not found in the Pacific Northwest based on BugGuide data.  Members of the genus Agapostemon are known as the Striped Sweat Bees because, according to BugGuide:  “Males are easier to ID because they have strongly black-and-yellow striped abdomen.”  According to Insect Identification for the Casual Observer:  “There are over a dozen species of Agapostemon Sweat Bees. Males are easier to identity than females because of their distinct coloring. The head and thorax of males are a metallic green, but its abdomen is comprised of the black and yellow bands typically seen in the bee family. Females of many species are mostly green all over. Some species are very social and share nests, while others are more solitary in nature.
Nests are burrows dug into dirt or banks. Pollen grains are collected and placed in each egg’s cell to provide food for the expected larva. For this reason, most sightings of adults occur around in or in gardens and meadows laden with blooms. Spring and summer are peak times of year for activity.
Adults drink flower nectar and eat pollen, and are not aggressive. They will sting in self-defense, however, if they are hit or almost crushed.
Agapostemon Sweat Bees sometimes get close to, or touch parts of, the body that are perspiring. They seem to enjoy drinking the salty liquid off of our skin. Some are so small and lightweight, they are able to do so without the person even realizing it!”  We are making your submission our Bug of the Month for October 2018.

Striped Sweat Bee

Subject:  Orange and black bee presume
Geographic location of the bug:  Uk Dewsbury wf12ort
Date: 09/16/2018
Time: 07:19 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi I opened my door this morning to see a big black and Orange bee I think but not supposed to be in the UK  never seen this in all my 25 years
How you want your letter signed:  T.walker

Red Tailed Bumble Bee

Dear T.walker,
This Bumble Bee is so distinctive, we quickly found this Art by Tereska site with an illustration that includes the Red Tailed Bumble Bee,
Bombus lapidarius.  According to, it:  “is probably the most easily recognised species with its black body and bright orange tail.”  According to Nature Spot:  “Fairly common in Britain and have expanded northwards to include Scotland.”

Subject:  Beetle bee?!
Geographic location of the bug:  Lincoln Nebraska
Date: 08/22/2018
Time: 09:58 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hey bugman!
Question! May be an easy one but I’ve never seen anything like this before. I was sitting on my patio when this fella flew up. Looks like pollen maybe on the hind leg? It looks like a beetle and a bee but reminded me of a spider the way it sat and was quick moving like a startled spider?!
Thanks for the help!
How you want your letter signed:  Curious

Common Eastern Bumble Bee

Dear Curious,
As you can see from this BugGuide image, this is a Common Eastern Bumble Bee.  Perhaps due to pesticides, or habitat loss, or some other reason, populations of native and Honey Bees are on the decline, making these once very common and easily recognized insects much less familiar to the casual observer.