Currently viewing the category: "Bees"

burrowing bee
Dear Bugman –
Thanks for identifying my Sesiid moth – here’s another question. I apologize for the poor quality of the photo, but I barely had time to snap this pollen-laden bee before it burrowed into the sandy ground and disappeared. There was no sign of a tunnel or hole, it just dug in and vanished. This photo was taken in July at Pescadero Marsh, near the beach in California. Thanks so much for your great work!

Hi Allison,
We can’t give you an exact species because of the photo, but behavior leads us to believe this is a Digger Bee, genus Anthophora. These bees visit flowers and are often laden with pollen. Though solitary, they nest in colonies. According to the Audubon Guide: “Nest is contructed in clya or sand bank. Entrance is concealed by a downslanted chimney made of mud. The chimney and brood cells at ends of inner branching tunnels are thinly lined with mud. Each cell contains misture of honey and pollen plus 1 egg. Larvae feed, overwinter, and pupate in cell. Adults emerge in late spring.” So, there was a predug tunnel concealed by sand, allowing the bee to quickly disappear.

Hey Bugman!!
I came across this pair of bumblebees in my driveway..they definitely appeared to be making LITTLE BABY BUMBLEBEES. They were there for 3 hours..when I checked on them a few minutes ago..they..were GONE….apparently they flew off into the wild blue yonder. Happy Buggin’..or should I say..BUZZIN’!!
Dee Rocanello
East Islip, Long Island, NY

Hi Dee,
Thanks for the contribution.

A couple for you . .
Dear Bugman,
I love your nickname. I know (by Internet) a retired priest who’s nickname is the same because he does bugs for fun too! We live in western South Dakota just east of Rapid City, NOT in the Black Hills. I have two for you, one I think I have identified from your web site as metallic green bees, pollinating our sunflowers. They were everywhere when our sunflowers were in full spate! The other is a mystery – the closest I have gotten is that by “insect definitions” (which I know very little about) is that this is some kind of fly because it only has one pair of wings. There are actually two pictures taken on different days. Both were sucking on early sunflowers along with some (YOW!) yellowjacket wasps which I manged to avoid, phew! The closest on your site was a Bee Fly, and these were definitely not eating bees! These pretty much ignored me as when I took these macros, they did not move! One appears to onlt have on set of legs, but the second picture reveals three pairs. Bless you for a fantasic site, and not just for kids!!!
Diane in South Dakota

Hi Diane,
You sent us three copies of the Metallic Sweat Bees in the genus Agapostemon. The photo is wonderful.

need help identifying a bug
Help! We must have 100’s of what looks like anthills in our yard , but instead of ants coming out of them, we have these flying insects. They are good flyers and at this point, about 1 cm. Photo 2 is the whole
creature and 1 is a close up of the head. We live in Northern Virginia outside DC. Any help would be appreciated.

Hi Jerry,
We wrote to Eric Eaton for some clarification on this, and he gave us this lengthy response:
“Neato! This person is privileged to be hosting large numbers of plasterer bees, genus Colletes, family Colletidae. They are solitary, each female excavating her own burrow, which branches into several cells underground. The bees get their common name from the fact that the female bee secretes from her body a natural polymer (that’s right, PLASTIC), with which she coats the inside of each cell. She makes a nectar and pollen “soup” that pools in the bottom, and she suspends a single egg from the ceiling. The larva that hatches feeds on the soup, which is kepf fresh and mold-free in the plastic baggie! Cool, huh? Colletes are among the many, many species of native, solitary bees we have in the U.S., and they are extremely valuable in pollinating wildflowers, as well as crops like alfalfa, cranberries, blueberries, and squashes that the non-native honey bees do not pollinate as efficiently, if at all. Plasterer bees are only locally common, so your “colony” may be the only one for miles, certainly the only one in the neighborhood.
Hope that helps.

Baby spiders, bee, grasshopper
Hi! Thought you might enjoy these pix of: newly hatched linx spiders (hard to tell on small picture, but when I zoom in they look just like Mom), cute bee (maybe you can ID this one?), and a big grasshopper on a cactus. Thanks for the wonderful site.
Best Wishes,
Donna in San Diego

Hi Donna,
Thanks for the images of the Green Lynx Spiderlings. Your bee is a common Honey Bee, Apis mellifera and your grasshopper is a Gray Bird Grasshopper, Schistocerca nitens. The females can grow to 2 1/2 inches in length or larger.

Update from David Gracer
Honey Bees
In addition to honey itself, many species in the genus Apis are harvested for bee brood (the high-protein larvae in the honeycomb; the brood harvested from Apis laboriosa is called Bakuti in Nepalese. Notice that evocative Latin name). To the extent that they’re eaten at all, domestic honeybees are consumed almost exclusively at certain Entomology Department get-togethers. While most American beekeepers would shudder at the thought of harvesting their future worker bees as a food source, the larvae are vastly more nutritious than the honey, and from everything I’ve read they’re delicious. One of these days I will have to give it a try .