Category: bee

Here is a male Anthophora affabilis…aga…

Here is a male Anthophora affabilis…again from our work in Badlands National Park in South Dakota.   

Except.  

You can see where I got tired of photoshopping out all the lint, scales, and dust on the right (the bee’s left) antennae.  We have to prep these specimens or deal with sometimes overwhelming amount of de linting.  It turns out that when we use our small flashes..that all the dust just pops into brightness and it really has an impact on the picture.   An impact in the same way that you might not “see” the smudges on the light switches in someone’s home, but you “feel” the dirtiness and unconsciously lay down some disrespect.  Same here.  Photo by the wonderful Kamren Jefferson.

A bit of a prairie drama queen. Dianthidium …

A bit of a prairie drama queen. 

Dianthidium ulkei, adds twinklespark to ochraceous dry greens of the prairie matrix in the Badlands. 

But… only if you get down there at their level. Now you can bear witness that the little beings not only are running the world , but already have discovered all the designs, color combinations, and shapes we think we created and put them into Mother Nature designer packages that would blow your socks off. Woof. Boom. We think we are soooo smart. Pictures by Kamren Jefferson.

Guantanamo Bay Military Base, GTMO is many thi…

Guantanamo Bay Military Base, GTMO is many things, all the military groups are there, and, it turns out, over one quarter of Cuba’s bees.  There is lovely cactus dry scrub on the base and that has a number of lovely bees such as this female Centris poecila.  Photographed by Sierra Williams.  

A lovely Nomada (N. krugii) from the Dominican…

A lovely Nomada (N. krugii) from the Dominican Republic, one I collected with Sean Brady on expedition.  

Sometimes I am just overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of species of bees in the world.  The diversity, the forms, the many life history strategies, and the relationship with most of the plants of the world; all this cooking and evolving, with each yearly generation of bees, probing and integrating with flowering plants, all parties gaming the system to maximize their biological and fitness needs.  Its like a living experiment, something no computer could model or recreate.  Thousands of small insect and plant people living and dying in individual experiments along with layers of parasites, diseases, and predators that also much be accommodated, climbing higher and higher into greater and greater complexity.  How interesting that in our systems we strive for simplicity.  One crop on a section of land with every living thing but that crop stripped from the system.  Then again, if we weren’t so efficient in our agriculture perhaps we would have destroyed all our natural areas by now to meet out needs for food.  We are not immune from the factors that control the fitness of wild bees and plants, one just wonders where that chain will end.

A large and dark Andrena hilaris. These mini…

A large and dark Andrena hilaris. These mining bees are bees of spring blooming woody plants. They usually not found on spring understory forbs like some of their kin. This one is dark for an Andrena and often spottable in trees simply by the dark colored wings and large size. Photograph by Kamren Jefferson.

The Bees Are Alive!

180,000 bees kept in hives in the Notre Dame Cathedral were thought to have perished in the fire. Fortunately, they have been discovered alive. What great news!

The Bees Are Alive!

180,000 bees kept in hives in the Notre Dame Cathedral were thought to have perished in the fire. Fortunately, they have been discovered alive. What great news!

Ugly Bee…For sure, but an interesting o…

Ugly Bee…For sure, but an interesting one. 

 Brooke Goggins took this one on a grayish background to highlight the wings of this Andrena nasonii.   T

his specimen was collected by Gabriel Karns as part of a study of rights of way in eastern Ohio.  We noticed that it has some funny vein business going on. Look at the wing, on the outer edge the last cell towards the tip is called the marginal cell (because it is on the margin) below that are what appears to be 2 or so cells…these are sub-marginal cells.  However, in this species there should be 3 not 2 sub-marginals.  You can see that the veins that would fraction off the additional cell are either partial or just a stub on each side.  Gene Scarpulla just published a paper on the topic…such things occur periodically in the bee world to add a layer of trickiness for us bee identifiers.

Well, someone has to take pictures of all thes…

Well, someone has to take pictures of all these small metallic Lasioglossums.   

This is L. flaveriae.  A Deep South species.  I associate it with southern, piney flatlands,  but it is based on partial understandings.  

Bees are so tiny and we look under Mother Nature’s hood in so few places.  This makes every collecting trip a grand adventure and it means its is often difficult to divine what bees might be in trouble and what …might not.  Once again, the fabulous Kamren Jefferson took this picture in 2013.      

CBC Gem

CBC Gem:

If you’re in Canada you can watch a documentary episode here about how 5 million bees were stolen from a beekeeping family in Montreal, Canada!