We picture here Colletes willistoni, with mussy hair, something Colletes are prone to. For me this is mostly irritating, in that they don’t clean up well for their pictures, for the bees, well, its hard to say, they are an old lineage and apparently great looking hair under all conditions was not their evolutionary priority. A tricky to id clade in Colletes, in the Midwest. Found along the road, in one of my favorite parts of the world. The Nebraska Sandhills.
The Good Carpenter Bee.
This is the other species of carpenter bee that occurs in the Eastern U.S. Xylocopa micans. For some reason it thumbs its labrum at dry wood in buildings, decks, and fences (unlike its cousin X. virginica).
Because it retires to natural habitats its nesting preferences are little known and yet another place where contributions by sharp-eyed naturalistas can be made.This male was photographed by Anders Croft. Bee collected by Mimi Jenkins in Watermelon fields of South Carolina
This medicinal plant is widely planted and tinkered with by gardeners and breeders. But, it really is a prairie species and when in its habitat, like the Badlands, big bees like to forage on it.
Hey, look, here’s one in this picture! Andrena helianthiformis. I suppose this means “looks like A. helianthus, but…is not” in Latin. Indeed this taxonomic feint produces confusion because this big Andrena likes Echinacea not Sunflowers. So now you know and your life is just a little bit more complete Citizen. Photo by Anders Croft.
A couple of shots of Andrena asteris.
Turns out the species is, indeed, an aster specialist. Not particularly common, unless you spend a lot of time looking at asters. If you spend a lot of time looking at willows then good luck finding this species Kiddo. Photo by Wayne Boo.
Back to the great Chilean expedition of 2017.
Here is Ruizanthedella mutabilis, which, if I recall correctly, is something of a dirtball species, one that was found regularly and elicited no excitement from Laurence Packer, expedition chief. Halictids are like that. Photo by Anders Croft
We process thousands of specimens a year.
In general, most species are a bit bedraggled, pollen covered, clumped hair, legs/antennae askew… that sort of thing. Particularly Andrena, which seem more prone to such things, perhaps because they are just a touch more delicate. So, it is nice to see a beautiful specimen like this Andrena wilmattae from Badlands National Park. A lovely presentation and our photographer, Anders Croft did a lovely job laying this specimen out. A joint venture I would say.
Gliding in from Costa Rica comes a moderately large, moderately green bee.
An Agapostemon nasutus.
There are a lot of the these bright green bees out there…Not just in C.R. but throughout the Americas. Beautiful, and once you start paying attention, quite common. But are there any songs written about them? No. Poems? Zero. Green Bee Secret Societies? Nope. This just seems wrong. Sorry, its late at night and am feeling the breath of native bee injustice. This series was taken by Kelly Graninger and Anders Croft. The bee, collected by our own Tim McMahon.
Here you go.
A member of a small group of bees that live on the U.S./Mexico border.
They have been there for years, moving back and forth across the border parasitizing Hersperapis and Conanthalictus bees in the area.
Small things, usually with reddish backends. Collected by Tim McMahon or Don Harvey on one of their expeditions to Arizona.
An uncommon nest parasite of the genus Osmia.
This one from Maine, where lots of Osmia hang out. Rarely found, but does this mean they are “rare”??? Probably not, likely there are thousands upon thousands produced each year across North America. We just aren’t paying attention. Sad. Photo by Brooke Alexander.