Category: bees

A series of pictures from Silas Bossert from t…

A series of pictures from Silas Bossert from the National Collection at the Smithsonian.  They use their own hi res camera equipment, but prefer a light background. Check the tongue on this bad girl, there is a story here of intense specialization by plant and bee.  This tiny bee lives in the deserts of the SW U.S.  It feeds its young pollen from Proboscidea …(Unicorn Plants).  But!….The plant does not open its flower when the pollen is ready…the bee has to cut a hole in the base of the flower and then mines that pollen…then…it goes for a drink at the flowers that are open and, boom, bee gets total access to pollen and plant gets very efficiently pollinated.  Great system, but require both bee and plant to remain present.

Fuzzy Friday. A fuzzy Anthophora is hard to …

Fuzzy Friday. A fuzzy Anthophora is hard to beat. Here is a past picture of a male Anthophora affabilis. A western bee caught at the very edge of its distribution in the Badlands of South Dakota. Remind me to publish those results….loads of interesting distributional records. Thanks. Photo by Kamren Jefferson.

One of about 3 Monarda specialist in Eastern N…

One of about 3 Monarda specialist in Eastern North America.  

This uncommon bee was collected in Wisconsin (Dufourea monardae), likely by Denny Johnson and photographed by Amber Reese.  

A northern species and not one we have had any experience collecting or observing.  That said, it could occur in Maryland if people spend more time collecting off of Bee Balm.

Bedraggled Bee.  

Bedraggled Bee.  

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.  

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

Echinacea.  

Echinacea.  

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.  

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.

Who doesn’t love a nicely striped bee?  

Who doesn’t love a nicely striped bee?  

Truchusa dorsalis on display here with stripes made on Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia and later picked up by the Virginia Heritage Group in their surveys.  This is a new state record, somewhat bridging records in the Pine Barrens of NJ and those of the North Carolina.  So, I suppose we should look at bit more closely and try to find some fuzzybeans (the pollen they feed their young) in our small sand areas.  Fuzzybeans should be planted more often, they are native, but the name demands planting in of itself.  Pictures by Kelly Graninger and Erick Hernandez.

We process thousands of specimens a year.  

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 …

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.