Currently viewing the category: "Bees"

>Green metallic sweat bee?
On or about 6/20/06 while digging in my backyard, Sammamish, Washington (just east of Seattle) I saw this new to me bee. You great website leads me to believe it is a green metallic sweat bee. I did not see any postings from the pacific NW.
Larry Hart, Sammamish, WA

Hi Larry,
Virescent Green Metallic Bees range, according to Audubon: “from Quebec and Maine to Florida, west to Texas; also Oregon to British Columbia.” We also see them in Los Angeles.

Mr. Bee
Hey Bugman,
There’s bees all over my vitex tree. A lot of them are this guy that I don’t recognize. I looked at your bees but still not sure. Leafcutter bee? My husband thinks it might be a hornet or mimic of some kind. Always appreciate your kind help for the ” insect challenged” here in West Tennessee.
Beth and Rick

Hi Beth and Rick,
We don’t recognize your solitary bee, but we hope Eric Eaton, who at long last has returned from Appalacia, might know the answer. Here is Eric’s speedy reply: “The bee is a Giant Resin Bee,” Megachile sculpturalis, so the submitter was right on with her identification. This species was introduced to North America from Asia in the 1990s, and has quickly spread over most of the eastern U.S. The females nest in the abandoned tunnels carved by our native carpenter bees. Eric”

need help in ID’ing a bee
Sir, Today I was cleaning and working on on my RV when I saw a large bee, about the size of a bumble bee, dark green in color, carrying a leaf, fly into the tailpipe of my generator’s muffler. I waited for it to come out, but after a few minutes, it did not come out. Not wanted a clogged up muffler on my generator, I tapped on it with a hammer, still no bee. I got some wasp spray and shot a stream into the tailpipe. Nothing came out. So I decided to start the generator and see if I could blow him/her our. When I started the generator, 3 leafy, cigar shaped things flew out of the tailpipe. The are about finger width in diameter and about 3 or 3 1/2 inches long. They seem to be full of some type of yellow liquid. Attached are two photos of the cocoons or egg cases. Would really like to know what they are.
PS, I live in south Texas.

Hi Larry,
We wish you had a photo of the Leaf Cutting Bee in the family Megachilidae. The female provisions her nest with nectar and pollen and creates a series of individual cells using circular leaf fragments.

Bumble Bee
Dear Bugman:
I’m very fond of your site. I love the beautiful photos your readers send in, and I love the way your writing both demystifies and celebrates our insect friends. I took this picture the other day in my garden. I was rather lazily weeding when I heard a very loud buzzing. This fellow (male? female?) was trying to collect from the columbine flowers, without much success since he was so big and heavy, and the flowers are on weak, nodding stems. I’m anthropomorphizing, but I swear the buzzing sounded grumpier and grumpier the more times he flopped off. I followed him (?) around with my camera for about five minutes before he stayed still long enough for me to get this pretty decent shot. I thought you might enjoy it, as well as confirm that this is indeed a bumble bee?
Stephanie Bowker
Des Plaines, IL

Hi Stephanie,
Thank you so much for your sweet letter. There is nothing wrong with a little anthromorphization. Fabre, one of the pioneering insect authors of the 19th Century, was a master of anthromorphization. Your columbines are quite lovely. It is one of our favorite flowers. We thought this was a Bumble Bee, but Eric Eaton set us straight: “the bumble bee is actually a female carpenter bee, Xylocopa virginica.”

Help identify this nest of bees
Hi Bugman!
I am so grateful I found this site and I am hoping you can identify this nest of bees which have decided to take over a bird house in our back yard. Are they dangerous? Are they endangered? I hope you can help, they make me a little nervous!
Thanx a lot!
Linda Robb

Hi Linda,
Because we are feeling cantankerous, we must begin by yelling at you. Where are you???????? Insect identification is difficult enough when location is known. If we didn’t love your photo, which is awesome, we would have simply hit the delete key and moved to a letter with more substance. If you are in the eastern U.S. or Canada, these are Red-Tailed Bumble Bees, Bombus ternarius. According to our Audubon Guide: “In early spring queen enters opening in soil to build honeypots and brood cells. Small workers develop first, visit flowers for nectar, and construct new brood cells. With warmer weather, larger adults develop. Only young mated females overwinter.” With the current state of the world, all living things are endangered but your native bees are not rare. They are not aggressive, but you should not disturb their nest or they will sting repeatedly. Please let them live in their awesome new home.

Sorry Bugman,
I live in Portland, Oregon. Thanks for identifing our bees. I have a few more awesome photos of them if you want me to send them to you. I have never seen a bee that looked like that before. They swarm around the front of the bird house in the middle of the afternoon when it is hot. It looks like they have some kind of a cone just inside the opening of the house. So sorry I didn’t give you more information in the beginning, it is the first time I wrote to someone about them! Best Regards,
Linda Robb

Update (05/01/2006)
Eric Eaton provided us with some assistance on this one: ” Ok, the bumblebees should be Bombus melanopygus, if my memory serves. We called them red-tailed bumblebees when I lived in Portland. That is a neat shot, one we could use on Bugguide because we don’t have that species yet.”