Category: usgs

This little red bee (Protandrena abdominalis) …

This little red bee (Protandrena abdominalis) was collected on spotted beebalm. 

It seems to be the only species of plant, with the possibility of some close relatives being involved, that this bee finds worthy of collecting pollen from. If you Google images of spotted beebalm you’ll see that it is quite the complicated and rather ornate flowering plant. It’s a little bit difficult to figure out what is going on in terms of why it has evolved all these lovely associated ornaments, but it has to be an interesting story. Quite the handsome insect, I think. Photograph by Anders Croft.

All original pictures completely public domain and available at our Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usgsbiml/

Photography Information: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-_yvIsucOY

Follow us on Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/usgsbiml/

Download our free field guide to the genera of bees:

http://bio2.elmira.edu/fieldbio/beesofmarylandbookversion1.pdf

Public Bee Servant, sam droege

A very small soldier beetle. This beetle is fr…

A very small soldier beetle. This beetle is from the genus Malthodes and was collected by Brent Steury near Little Hunting Creek on the George Washington Memorial Parkway lands, operated by the National Park Service. While the species is still unknown, it does represent a new state record for Virginia and is in the process of being published. What its role is in the context of keeping the forest balanced and functioning is not really known, but all these small little members of the forest tribe form a collective that promotes and creates its own diversity with the interlocking webs that keeps forests protected during stressful times.

All original pictures completely public domain and available at our Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usgsbiml/

Photography Information: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-_yvIsucOY

Follow us on Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/usgsbiml/

Download our free field guide to the genera of bees:

http://bio2.elmira.edu/fieldbio/beesofmarylandbookversion1.pdf

Public Bee Servant, sam droege

The tricky Small Hive Beetle.  

The tricky Small Hive Beetle.  

One of the many banes of the bee keepers, Aethina tumida.   

Small things … about the size of half an eraser head.  These beetles smell like bees and even sometimes get fed by bees.  It is not the adults that are the problem to the bee keeper it is ….the bad habits of the babies.  Once established in the hive, they are hard to get out of the hive or eliminate without eliminating the bees too.  You can thank global transportation as these beetles traveled from their native Africa and now are found throughout North America.  Specimen from the Francisco Posada…bee whisperer and beetle wrangler for USDA, Beltsville.  

All those facts are well and good, but I just like looking at them.  So nicely and cleverly put together.  The deep maroon blending to a soft venous blood, bilaterally mounded and curved in proportions unexplainably beautiful beyond  simple notions of golden means.  Underneath, a package of interlocking plate-like legs, well-protected in self-contained transformer armor.  All around prickled in curtains of pits that help flick bits of light from the folds of the bounced flash.  If that were 6 feet tall we would certainly worship it as a god.

A couple of unprocessed French bees.  

A couple of unprocessed French bees.  

This is Lasioglossum albipes.  One of the most well studied non-bumble non-honey bees.  Sarah Kocher lent these to us from her many studies, so we could picturate them.  While they are your basic brown sweat bee thing, upclose there is a charm in how they are put together.  At least I am charmed, that is.  

The most common Coelioxys in the East.  

The most common Coelioxys in the East.  

This is C. sayi.   

Now, C. sayi is a nest parasite (like all Coelioxys) and it likes to drop its eggs in the nest of what is usually the most common Leaf Cutter in the East Megachile mendica.  That said, these bees are so little studied that it would not be at all surprising to find that are also  dropping eggs in similar hosts such as M. brevis

These bees are well armored against the stings of the hunky leaf cutters, to the extent that putting a pin through them when preparing them can be a bit crunchy (Another cocktail fact from your favorite government program).  Pictures by Dejen Mengis whose experiences in the Bee Lab caused him to join the Peace Corp.  

Collected by one “E.P. Reed” proba…

Collected by one “E.P. Reed” probably about 100 years ago in Central Chile this is from an orphaned collection of bees from the Smithsonian.  

While in the process of returning we are taking a few pictures of some of the more interesting bees.  This is Caupolicana fulvicollis.  At least some, if not all, of these bees are crepsucular bees…out only at dawn or at dusk where they have a secret pollen handshake with the few plants that only open their blossoms in crepusculance (possibly not a real word, but sounds like it should be to me).  Note the large ocelli on this bee….a pretty good sign that it indeed is working in low light.  Picture by Anders Croft from our lab.

All original pictures completely public domain and available at our Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usgsbiml/

Photography Information: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-_yvIsucOY

Follow us on Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/usgsbiml/

Download our free field guide to the genera of bees:http://bio2.elmira.edu/fieldbio/beesofmarylandbookversion1.pdf

Public Bee Servant, sam droege

A Japanese Bee in America.  This is Anthopho…

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.  

Photographs by Brooke Alexander.

All original pictures completely public domain and available at our Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usgsbiml/

Photography Information: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-_yvIsucOY

Follow us on Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/usgsbiml/

Download our free field guide to the genera of bees:http://bio2.elmira.edu/fieldbio/beesofmarylandbookversion1.pdf

Public Bee Servant, sam droege

Sunflowers.  

Sunflowers.  

Specifically, the genus Helianthus to separate out the other “sunflower” plants. Helianthus is only found in North America.  So tall and glorious that we have adopted many sunflower species 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 Andrena helainthi.  How nice that it was found tucked in Hartville, OH by MaLisa Spring. 

 Photo by Anders Croft.    

All original pictures completely public domain and available at our Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usgsbiml/

Photography Information: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-_yvIsucOY

Follow us on Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/usgsbiml/

Download our free field guide to the genera of bees:http://bio2.elmira.edu/fieldbio/beesofmarylandbookversion1.pdf

Public Bee Servant, sam droege

A head of a specimen of Bombus affinis from th…

A head of a specimen of Bombus affinis from the tip of Long Island, collected by the fabulous Roy Lantham a Potato Farmer, naturalist, and insect collector.  From what I know, Roy (now passed on) was quite the eccentric, but he made very valuable contributions to all sorts of natural history fields from his collections of local plants and animals.  

[Aside:  A little sidebar here: Why not do a little self check-in here to assess whether you have made any sort of permanent contribution to the natural history world]. 

Roy’s permanent contributions form reference points from now until we depopulate ourselves and the insects once again take over.  Photograph by Greta Forbes.  

All original pictures completely public domain and available at our Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usgsbiml/

Photography Information: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-_yvIsucOY

Follow us on Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/usgsbiml/

Download our free field guide to the genera of bees:http://bio2.elmira.edu/fieldbio/beesofmarylandbookversion1.pdf

Public Bee Servant, sam droege

First … do you see the bunny waving to …

First … do you see the bunny waving to you in this picture?

Now, the rest of the story…

This bee, Coelioxys immaculata, is an uncommon nest parasite of other bees.  Almost by definition it must be less common since the young C. immaculata usurps a cell of a leaf-cutter bee, kills the host baby bee and eats its food before emerging the next year.  Note the interesting pattern of lobes on its tail end.  Mysterious.