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

sleeping bees, second attempt
Hi – We love your site, and have gotten lots of good information and identifications from it before. Thank you so much. I’m sending this again, because my embedded photo didn’t show up in my email for some reason. Thanks! Here’s the current question – we live in east of the San Francisco Bay area of California (but not as far east as the Central Valley). At a wildflower garden that I maintain at a school site, we’ve noticed bees congregating on the poppy seed heads about sundown. By dusk, there are several bees per stem, all faced head-down. They are non-aggressive – just seem to jockey for position. I think they are some sort of mason bee, but this behavior has me puzzled….any ideas? Can you confirm the identification in these pictures? thanks so much – keep up the good work!!
I’ll try to embed the photo, and a link to try to make sure it all goes through….

Hi gardenchien,
Your original letter was on the back burner from yesterday while we attempted to locate an image of an amazing fly we wanted to post from the day before. These are male Long-Horned Bees in the tribe Eucerini. We have posted several images in the past of this group roosting behavior known as Bachelor Parties. According to a posting on BugGuide, Doug Yanega indicates that the parties may contain multiple species. At any rate, exact species identification is way beyond our means.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Leaf Cutter Bee in Texas
Hi! You don’t have to respond to this as an inquiry, but I thought you might enjoy the photos I snapped of a leaf cutter bee in my backyard in southeast Texas. I’ve had this rosebush for over a year now and have only this week spotted the leafcutter in action. They are very quick at their skill; I guess I either haven’t been out at the right time, or they are very shy. I’ve seen the neatly cut circles and I knew who the culprit was, I just hadn’t seen her before. I was pretty excited! Thanks for your cool and informative site!

Hi Lindsey,
We are sure our rose growing readership will appreciate your photos of a Leaf Cutter Bee in action. These bees are important native pollinators and the damage they do to leaves is minor. Of greater concern is their habit of tunneling into rose stems to create nests. Here is a link to the Colorado State University horticulture website with more information.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

mating orchard bees
Dear Bugman,
Great bug site! My son took this picture of two lovin’ orchard bees on our deck in April of 2005. These bees regularly nest under the siding on the south side of our home. They are docile, early spring risers and are very welcome visitors to our apple trees.
Sandy Nunn
Kakabeka Falls

Hi Sandy,
Thank you so much for sending us this wonderful image from your son’s photo archive.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Can you please help me identify some mystery pollinators
Dear Bugman,
I really appreciate your site and the information that you share, your photos and descriptions have helped me identify several mystery insects, including sweat bees, hover flies and bee killers, and I’m hopping that you might be able to help me identify a few more. I have attached three photographs of separate insects, all of which appear to be pollinators which I have found in my yard. I have recently taken an interest into native pollinators since I have taken up the hobby of beekeeping. I truly admire the labor of these critters, I just wish I could identify them by name. I think I know the identity of two of my submissions, I believe one to be a ‘blue orchard mason bee’, and the other I think is a photograph of two separate ‘leaf cutter bees’, perhapses alfalfa leaf cutters. Both of these apparently solitary insects last spring and summer had taken to laying eggs in a nesting block I installed in my garden.

Leafcutter Bee Orchard Mason Bee

The last picture is of a critter that has me confused as to it’s true identity. This bumble bee sized fly-like creature is pictured on a stevia plant (aka sugar herb), but seems to also like holly and basil flowers, they however completely avoid catnip in bloom, which is odd as it seems to attract every other pollinator I’ve seen in my yard. They seem to be particularly prevalent around my beehive, though this may simply be coincidence. Can you help me identify this last specimen, and confirm my beliefs on the previous too? Any help that you could lend would be much appreciated.
Robert Engelhardt

Hi Robert,
We will post your images of the Orchard Mason Bee and Leafcutter Bee and see if we can get an exact species names for you. Meanwhile, your mystery pollinator is a Beelike Tachnid Fly, Bombyliopsis abrupta. The adults drink nectar, and the larvae are internal parasites on caterpillars.

Update From Eric Eaton
“Yes, the left one is a female Megachile sp., though not the one he thought it was. The right one is a male Osmia sp., no telling which one from the image alone. Both are very nice images. Eric”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination