Currently viewing the category: "Solitary Bees"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Pollen Thief
Geographic location of the bug:  Spartanburg SC
Date: 03/23/2020
Time: 08:40 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Good Morning,
Spring has sprung here in the Carolinas. I was watching the bees on a holly bush when I saw two bees, one much smaller than the other. The smaller bee got on the back of the larger bee, shook him like crazy and stole the pollen from his legs! Is this common in the bee world?
How you want your letter signed:  Mike Healy

Mating Eastern Carpenter Bees

Dear Mike,
This looks to us like a pair of mating Eastern Carpenter Bees,
Xylocopa virginica, and the male, who is on top, has a white face.  We do not think pollen thievery was on his mind.  According to BugGuide:  “Adults take nectar from many flowers, often biting into base of flower to “rob” it without pollinating (but seen to pollinate Passiflora incarnata quite effectively–pollen is deposited on thorax).”

Dear Daniel,
Thank you so much for the ID on my bees. Little did I know that I was interrupting an intimate moment! My son was morning the grass and the larger females were everywhere that there was a flower of any kind. Do three Carpenter bees sting? My son was terrified by then but they really didn’t seem to care about me, walking right up to them. I do remember from my childhood in CT, that there was a best of Carpenters in the garage and they would dive bomb us.
The picture that I took was that of the bees in a Holly bush. There were hundreds of them.
Thanks again for the education. I love What’s that bug!
Mike Healy

Hi Mike,
Male Carpenter Bees are incapable of stinging, and females are not aggressive and rarely sting.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Fuzzy Buzzy Bee
Geographic location of the bug:  23454 – Va Beach, VA
Date: 08/18/2019
Time: 05:19 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I’ve noticed a new pollinator in our gardens this summer but don’t recognize the species.  I’m estimating 20-25MM in length, fairly robust, but not “chunky” like a bumble bee.  I saved one in our pool and grabbed a couple closeups of their uniquely colored eyes.  He/she flew away safely  :-]
How you want your letter signed:  W/ appreciation

Thank you for the response.  I see many similarities, however the size, shape, and coloring of the eyes do not correspond.  Head scratcher.  :-]

Eastern Carpenter Bee

Hello again,
Because you wrote back, we took a look at all your images and we believe you have submitted images of two different species.  We still believe the individual on the flowers is a Bumble Bee, but the one you saved from the pool appears to be an Eastern Carpenter Bee.  Check out the similarity in the eyes with this individual posted to BugGuide of
Xylocopa virginicaMale.  As you can see from this BugGuide image, the Eastern Carpenter Bee has a dark colored abdomen, which is why we feel certain you have submitted two different species.  Since you rescued this individual, we are tagging the posting with the Bug Humanitarian Award.

Eastern Carpenter Bee

I’m sorry for creating confusion!  …but am grateful for your extra effort :-]
Thanks guys!!
R/ M Coughlin

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Metalic Green Bee (Agapostemon)
Geographic location of the bug:  Central Mississippi
Date: 07/29/2019
Time: 03:38 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi! I got this lovely picture with my macro lens – thought you might like to add it to the page for this bee! 🙂
How you want your letter signed:  Elizabeth

Metallic Sweat Bee

Dear Elizabeth,
Thanks for sending in your lovely image of a Metallic Sweat Bee.  We generally don’t even attempt to identify them beyond the subfamily Halictinae because we don’t have the necessary skills to differentiate them further.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Megachilidae bee?
Geographic location of the bug:  Andover, NJ
Date: 06/03/2019
Time: 03:49 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi Daniel,
I was out in my pollinator garden snooping around this morning and discovered a large number of these small bees.  Size is about 1/3 inch.  They were in an area of my garden that has a bee house, but were not showing any signs of using it.  I am wondering, however, if these are mason bees?  Any help gratefully appreciated!
And I’m looking forward to a buggy summer.
How you want your letter signed:  Deborah E Bifulco

Solitary Bee

Dear Deborah,
While we agree this is a solitary Bee, we are uncertain of its exact identity.  It might be a Squash Bee, one of the Longhorned Bees in the genus
Peponapis.  According to BugGuide:  “these solitary ground nesting bees pollinate Cucurbitaceae more effectively than honeybees and line their brood cells with a waxlike material they secrete”.  Do you have squash in your garden?  We would not rule out that they might be Mason Bees in the family Megachilidae, which is well represented on BugGuide.  We believe that with many solitary Bees, males emerge earlier and they will patrol areas where there is both abundant food as well as favorable nesting areas in anticipation of the appearance of females with which to mate.  Male Bees will not be interested in your bee house.  We look forward to future submissions from your “pollinator garden”.  Perhaps one of our readers who has more experience keying out Solitary Bees will provide a more conclusive identification.

Solitary Bee

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination