I like looking at this shot, the symmetry, this alien being, this unknowable insect, there is something alive, even relatable here.
This one is worth looking at full-screen.
What if, indeed, this Megachile brevis, was as large as a puppy dog, would we treat it the same as we do now?
A bug can be ignored, because it doesn’t sting us and because it isn’t the size that our eyes can view all the particulars, all the wonderful details that are built into this being in a similar but different way than the flowers that pollinate’s and we honor by making him into bouquets and making them integral to all our major life events.
Would they make good pets? Would they like to be groomed by us, scratched behind the head? My my I probably shouldn’t write these things late at night they’re just too many rabbit holes out there to fall into.
A Japanese Bee in America. This is Anthophora villosula. An Anthophora (Digger Bee) that was introduced in the 80s to Eastern U.S. for agricultural purposes, but its potential was never realized.
Now, unfortunately, it is a common and spreading alien species dispersing from its original location in the Washington D.C. area and will likely spread to occupy much of the country at some point. It can be found nesting in the dry dirt under decks, in upturned root masses and in the earthen plaster of strawbale houses such as our bee biologist’s Sam Droege’s, where it nests by the hundreds. It does favor the “alien” plant community over the natives so it will be another interesting story to watch how it integrates and competes with the local bee fauna.
A series of pictures of a queen and a male of the northernish bumble bee Bombus vagans.
Still a reasonable common component of northern Appalachian systems, its been retreating from its lower elevation and southern edges over the last century. Whether the issues are climate change or the myriad of other factors that control what critter occurs in what place is hard to come to firm conclusions. In any case these came from a collecting expedition and Bioblitz in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. Note the long face and the first 2 abdomominal segments with yellow hairs. Plush! Photographs by Brooke Alexander.
Widely used in agriculture in green house pollination as well as in the field.
Also one that has been introduced into several parts of the world… Causing major problems in South America where some combination of competition and disease harms the native bumble bees. This one from New Zealand where it was introduced many years ago.