Currently viewing the category: "Solitary Bees"

Subject:  Odd discovery in SOUth Africa- What bee is this?
Geographic location of the bug:  Eastern Coastline of SOuth Africa – Eastern Cape
Date: 09/22/2021
Time: 06:42 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi Bugman – my mother found this bee in Mbotyi – the Eastern Cape town in South AFrica. It looks like a Valley Carpenter bee which is highly unlikely – can you assist?
How you want your letter signed:  Jason M

Male Carpenter Bee: Xyclocopa caffra

Dear Jason,
This is a Carpenter Bee, just not the Valley Carpenter Bee which is native to the North American southwest.  We believe your individual is a Male Carpenter Bee:
Xyclocopa caffra, based on this image posted on USGS Science for a Changing World.

Subject:  Longhorned Bees settle in for the night
Geographic location of the bug:  Campbell, Ohio
Date: 08/01/2021
Time: 7:01 PM EDT
Gentle Readers,
The sunflowers that have grown from the fallen black oil seeds Daniel has been feeding birds when he is in Ohio have grown into landscaping.  The flowers attract a wealth of pollinators.  Last week Daniel took some images of these male Longhorned Bees settling in the for night, an activity referred to as a “Bachelor Party” and it caused Daniel to ponder if two male Longhorned Bees constitute a party.

Male Longhorned Bees

 

Subject:  Solitary Bee and Gray Hairstreak
Geographic location of the bug: Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 06/26/2021
Time: 11:01 AM PDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Readers,
There are numerous native Bees visiting blossoms in Daniel’s garden right now, and he does have difficulty with some species identifications.  This pollen-laden Solitary Bee was being very elusive, flying away when Daniel aimed his magicphone and attempted to move in for a closeup.  Most of the images are blurry.  When a Gray Hairstreak appeared and Daniel turned his attention to the Gossamer Wing, the Solitary Bee decided to ZOOM bomb the photo.  The Bee may be
Anthophorula albicans which is pictured on BugGuide and the Natural History of Orange County.

Solitary Bee and Gray Hairstreak

 

Subject:  Scary Black Bug that Lives in our little boys Restroom
Geographic location of the bug:  San Gabriel Valley -California
Date: 04/16/2021
Time: 10:03 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We found a large black bug w/wings in my little boys bathroom. Came out of nowhere. My 3 year old and 7 year refuse to ever go back in the bathroom ever again. They think there may be “millions” living in the walls of the restroom. Help! Help me educate them and end the fear of the the “scary black bug”…
How you want your letter signed:  Frustrated Mommy

Dead Female Valley Carpenter Bee

Dear Frustrated Mommy,
Your request did not indicate if your found this female Valley Carpenter Bee in its present state, dead, or if it was a live flying creature when it was discovered and when it scared your boys.  We suspect the latter and we won’t lecture you on Unnecessary Carnage.  We suspect this individual found its way into the house, became disoriented, and then in the loud manner in which this species flies, it proceeded to fly clumsily indoors, buzzing loudly the entire time, and to youngsters who are often taught to fear the unknown, that experience must have been truly terrifying.  Valley Carpenter Bees are not an aggressive species, and females rarely sting.  Furthermore, this is a solitary Bee meaning there is not a nest with”‘millions’ living in the walls of the restroom.”  This species has begun flying in Southern California and Daniel began seeing females a few weeks ago, and the sexually dimorphic golden colored males which appear to be a different species, began appearing about a week ago.  Male Valley Carpenter Bees lack stingers and are incapable of stinging.  The female Valley Carpenter excavates a tunnel in dead wood, with tree stumps and telephone poles being common nest sites.  Assure your youngsters that they can use their restroom assured that there is no colony in the walls and that this luckless female Valley Carpenter Bee accidentally entered your home.

Subject:  Identification of Insect Request
Geographic location of the bug:  Trinidad & Tobago, Caribbean
Date: 07/06/2020
Time: 05:24 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Please help me identify this scary looking creature. I saw it outside my home a couple weeks ago when the rainy season became more intense. I live on the hilly part of North Trinidad, which is an island in the Caribbean. The bug was probably one and a half inches long and 1 inch wide. I left it alone and it disappeared after a while. The area is a little bushy with a few fruit trees around. Thanks for your help.
How you want your letter signed:  Aisha Baptiste

Male Carpenter Bee

Dear Aisha,
This is a harmless male Carpenter Bee.  Male Carpenter Bees are incapable of stinging.  Only the females, which are generally larger and often exhibit sexual dimorphism, are capable of stinging.  While males of many species of Carpenter Bees are often gold in color, the females are generally larger and often black in color, appearing to be a different species.

Dear Daniel,
Thanks so much for your prompt response! I do appreciate all of this information.
Best Regards,
Aisha.

Dear Daniel,
Sorry to bother you again, but after reading the Barbados account, I just realised that we also refer to the female Carpenter bee as a black bumble bee in Trinidad (and I was stung by one as a child). This was a real eye opener. Thanks again!
Regards,
Aisha

Hi again Aisha,
Female Carpenter Bees are not aggressive, though they are capable of stinging.  We are cheered to learn our response was helpful and eye opening.

I agree they aren’t aggressive. I was about 5 or 6 years old and it actually landed on me when I was walking home from school. I began to yell and scream and another child told me to hit it with my lunch kit and that’s when I got stung on my belly.

Swatting an unknown insect that lands on one is a good way to get bitten or stung.  Creatures will defend themselves.  Though at five or six, you might not have realized this, but it is a far better method to blow an unknown creature off of one’s body, if possible.

Subject:  Agressive towards honeybees
Geographic location of the bug:  Sonoma, California
Date: 06/09/2020
Time: 12:07 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  In my aunts garden the statchys is blooming. There are so many different pollinators, including many honeybees. This insect caught our eye. It hovers, has drone-like flight. It is visiting the flowers but it is very attentive to the competitors. It’s spends about as much time attacking honeybees as it does visiting flowers. When it attacks it seems like it bites. We see many honeybees on the ground with half of a wing, in apparent suffering- It seems they have been hurt or intoxicated
How you want your letter signed:  Mollyanne

Woolcarder Bee

Dear Mollyanne,
This is a male, non-native Woolcarder Bee, a species native to Europe but present in North America since the mid 1960s.  According to BugGuide:  “Males defend their territory very aggressively not only against other males but also against other flower visitors” which explains the behavior towards Honey Bees that you witnessed.

Woolcarder Bee