Category: entomology

Another dark northern Andrena. This one (And…

Another dark northern Andrena

This one (Andrena milwaukiensis) also runs down the high elevations of the Rockies and the Appalachians. Collected in Hancock County, Maine and contibuted by Alison Dibble. Photographed by Wayne Boo

Lithurgopsis gibbosa – In North America the …

Lithurgopsis gibbosa – In North America the members of this genus are primarily cactus pollen specialists. Since this one was captured in the sandhills of North Carolina by Heather Moylett it is undoubtedly covered in Prickly Pear cactus pollen. Note the projecting shelf just below the antennae on this female.

A new Washington DC record. 

A new Washington DC record. 

Triepeolus cressonii, captured in the Kenilworth aquatic Gardens along the Anacostia River.  

A very urban landscape, but one that still retains quite a bit of original nature thanks to the work of the National Park Service maintains the property as well as adjacent areas along this quiet backwater. The specimen was collected by and photographed by Chelcey Nordstrom.

Check out our Flickr site for more details and at that location you can download the originals. Everything is public domain.

Sunflowers.  

Sunflowers.  

Specifically, the genus Helianthus to separate out the other “sunflower” plants.  

Only found in North America.  So tall and glorious that we have adopted many for our gardens.  Thrusting skyward they telegraph their supply of pollen and nectar to the bees that only feed their young pollen of Sunflower.  Here is one of them.  The appropriately named A. helainthi.  How nice that it was found tucked in Hartville, OH by MaLisa Spring.  Photo by Anders Croft.    

Bees are small.  It doesn’t take that much pol…

Bees are small.  It doesn’t take that much pollen and nectar to raise a baby bee.  One clump of flowers is enough to support several bees.  Look around.  Are you supporting flowers….and bees.  Question lawns.

Number 23.   In the KNOW YOUR WILD BEES CAMPAIGN

Number 22 in the CAMPAIGN TO KNOW YOUR WILD …

Number 22 in the CAMPAIGN TO KNOW YOUR WILD BEES.

Life of solitary bees is one of inner contemplation, most of your life will be in a completely dark cell waiting for your phenological alarm clock to go off telling you that it’s time to go out in the world. 

Once you start flying your amazingly designed wings begin to chip and fray on their edges as they hit vegetation and the ground. Ultimately they wear out and you either are eaten or you simply can no longer fly… And then are eaten.

#20 in the CAMPAIGN TO KNOW YOUR WILD BEESWh…

#20 in the CAMPAIGN TO KNOW YOUR WILD BEES

While there is a lot of talk of bee decline,..

We know so very little about the actual status of bees that we may have species that need to be listed, but you can’t list something unless you know something about its status. I like to encourage people to submit photos of bees to BugGuide as well as to i-naturalist particularly if they start targeting uncommon plants and their visitors. Traditional collecting of bees for museums is even better. For example, yesterday, within a mile of the laboratory I was poking around and came across a large patch of deerberry and sure enough the very uncommonly recorded specialist (and most people very rare) species Panurginus atramontenis were all over the bloom. I easily could’ve caught over hundred. Just one example where poking around in the right place can yield big results. Bombus affinis is our one endangered species, a bumblebee, and therefore something that people have paid attention to over the years. As part of a larger syndrome of decline due to pathogens brought over from Europe the species is particularly hard-hit and largely restricted to the upper Midwest and Appalachia. Again, take pictures, submit them to Bumblebee Watch and to the other two places I mentioned and maybe we can find some additional specimens.

Number 19 in our series of postings and part o…

Number 19 in our series of postings and part of our CAMPAIGN TO KNOW YOUR WILD BEES. 

Here we illuminate the problem that many gardeners face… What do I plant? Weeds and other garden plants sometimes attract tons of bees, is this helpful? Well, it is helpful in that many bees come to these plants to forage on pollen and even the specialist bees will come to for the quick energy that nectar provides . However, similar to birdfeeders, most of these plants are feeding the bees that are doing quite well; the sparrow and pigeon bees if you will. Native plants, on the other hand, have had millions of years to synchronize with the local wild bee fauna. As such, there’s a great deal of specialization and general community membership that goes beyond bees, these are plants that have numerous associations with other native denizens of our wild scapes, other insects, bacteria, fungi and interplay with plant communities that foster many uncommon and rare species. Without these native plants a good deal of our native bees would disappear and bringing with them would be many other plants and animals. So, it makes most sense to start your gardens with native plants and backfill with some of the traditional plants that you will love.

Wild bees, usually do not travel far to gath…

Wild bees, usually do not travel far to gather pollen.  They take up residence wherever they find sufficient flowers…like your backyard maybe? Number 18 in the KNOW YOUR WILD BEES CAMPAIGN.

#17 of the KNOW YOUR WILD BEES CAMPAIGN. Wil…

#17 of the KNOW YOUR WILD BEES CAMPAIGN. Wild bees and plants have cocreated flowers. We have added our tweaks, but they are trivial compared to the bee’s contributions.