Currently viewing the category: "Solitary Bees"

Subject:  Metallic green bee
Geographic location of the bug:  Belton South Carolina
Date: 07/24/2018
Time: 01:04 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I saw these metallic green and yellow bees on the ground over pile of dirt. What I thought was yellow now I’m thinking that it might be just pollen. But they are not a type of bee that we’ve ever seen around here. Hoping you can help me identify them and wondering if they sting.
How you want your letter signed:  Brenda Bryant

Metallic Sweat Bee Colony

Dear Brenda,
These appear to be Metallic Green Sweat Bees in the family Halicitidae, and though they are solitary bees, they sometimes nest in colonies.  According to BugGuide:  “Typically ground-nesters, with nests formed in clay soil, sandy banks of streams, etc. Most species are polylectic (collecting pollen from a variety of unrelated plants).”  BugGuide also notes:  “A few species are attracted to sweat, and will sometimes sting if disturbed, though the sting is not very painful.” 

Subject:  Rusty red-furred bee. Ridged flat back.
Geographic location of the bug:  Fredericksburg, Virginia
Date: 07/19/2018
Time: 01:15 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I saw this bee on an agastache flower in my backyard. I looked at your guide and  it seems to be a resin bee?  It’s gorgeous.
We used to have carpenter bees out back (deck) but now they’ve sawed our front porch.  You say that the resin bees move into already established holes…………………….……………
How you want your letter signed:  swarner

Sculptured Resin Bee

Dear swarner,
You are correct that this is an introduced Sculptured Resin Bee and according to BugGuide:  “They are opportunistic and nest in existing wooden cavities, rather than excavating their own. Effectively pollinate kudzu, another invasive species.”

Subject:  A stunning Syrphid for your enjoyment
Geographic location of the bug:  Silverdale, WA
Date: 07/14/2018
Time: 04:48 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  No real question, just a lovely image I snapped of a Syrphidn or Flower fly/hover fly (your guess is as good as mine on a proper species ID).
Enjoy, and keep up the awesome work!
How you want your letter signed:  Bug aficionado

Wool Carder Bee

Dear Bug aficionado,
Most Flies in the order Diptera have a single pair of wings, though some species are wingless.  At any rate, no Flies have two pairs of wings, which is the physical characteristic shared by other winged insects.  This is NOT a Syrphid Fly.  It is a Wool Carder Bee in the genus Anthidium.  According to BugGuide:  “Females collect down from pubescent plants and use it to line nest.”  We cannot provide a definitive species name to your individual.

Subject:  Big black bug with blue wings
Geographic location of the bug:  Czech Republic, South Moravia
Date: 07/09/2018
Time: 09:44 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello, I’ve seen this bug on the sideway, we’ve seen anything like this never before.
Any ideas what is it?
How you want your letter signed:  Nice but unknown bug

Violet Carpenter Bee

This is a Violet Carpenter Bee, Xylocopa violacea, a species we identified on iNaturalist.  Perhaps due to global warming, it has recently been reported from the UK where it has spread from its normal rage that included continental Europe.  According to Independent:  “Even though it is one of the scariest-looking insects you’re ever likely to catch sight of (typically measuring at least 25mm in length but appearing considerably larger in flight), it is the violet, not the violent carpenter bee. A killer bee it is not; it is not aggressive and is unlikely to sting you. The name comes from the violet wings, which appear to give a blue sheen to its black body when in flight.”  According to Life In Galicia:  “they are harmless – only the female can sting but will do so only if directly provoked. The male just buzzes about, guards the nest and looks after the female.” 

Subject:  Large Golden Bee
Geographic location of the bug:  Tucson, AZ
Date: 06/28/2018
Time: 10:13 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  What is this? Large similar to the size of a beetle but looks like bee.
How you want your letter signed:  Anna

Male Valley Carpenter Bee

Dear Anna,
This is a male Valley Carpenter Bee, a species with pronounced sexual dimorphism.

Subject:  Black hornet/bee
Geographic location of the bug:  Macedonia Ohrid
Date: 06/13/2018
Time: 02:44 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman :  Any help will be much appreciated
How you want your letter signed:  Nebul0za

Carpenter Bee, we believe

Dear Nebul0za,
We believe this is a Carpenter Bee in the subfamily Xylocopinae.  Here is a FlickR image of an individual from Crete.