Archive for the ‘bee’ Category

Partners and Robbers

September 27, 2013


A jewelweed blossom is worth examining carefully; it is a little marvel of engineering, with a shape perfectly adapted to its pollinator, a plump bumblebee with a very long tongue and a thirst for nectar.

The shape of the little sac fits the body of the bumblebee like a glove; the side petals open like a pair of curtains to allow its entrance; the length of its spur, full of nectar is just right for the tongue of the bumblebee. And, finally and most important to the plant, the anthers (that carry the pollen) and the stigma (which receives the pollen) are placed so that the hairy back of the bumblebee rubs against them when entering the flower. The pollen is deposited on the bee and later on it is transported to other flowers.

For pollination to take place the bee has to enter the front of the flower otherwise it would fail to touch the parts of the flower that matter.


Despite this marvelous system, some very nice pollinators can turn into robbers and cheat the flowers that they usually serve diligently. This happens when the pollinator chooses to take a shortcut and bypass the well planned scheme of the flower. Such is the case of this bumblebee. When it takes nectar by slashing the spur from the outside it doesn’t come near the pollen carrying organs and doesn’t perform pollination.


Beginners Guide to Pollinators and Other Flower Visitors


Gallery of Leaf-cutter and Mason Bees

March 3, 2012

The bees of the family Megachilidae include the leaf-cutter bees and the mason bees. They have big powerful jaws, which is what Megachilidae means.






Gallery of Halictidae. Halictini

February 28, 2012




Gallery of Halictidae. Augochlorini

February 25, 2012

The members of the Augochlorini tribe of the family Halictidae are all metallic green, sometimes they have bluish or coppery tones. Their name refers to the green color. The most common ones in our area are Augochlora pura, Augochlorella aurata and Augochloropsis metallica.

Gallery of Colletidae

February 24, 2012

Colletidae is a small family of bees. They use a material similar to cellophane to build their nests and thus they are called cellophane or plasterer bees.

Gallery of carpenter bees

February 24, 2012

Carpenter bees belong to the Apidae family.

Xylocopa. The most familiar ones are the large carpenter bees of the genus Xylocopa. They get their name from their habit to drill holes in wood for nesting purposes. They prefer soft and untreated wood.

Ceratina. There are also small carpenter bees, Ceratina. They look very different and are considerably smaller. Instead of making their own nests by chewing on wood, they choose hollow twigs for nesting.

Gallery of Nomada bees

February 21, 2012

All the bees in the subfamily Nomadinae of the Apidae family are cleptoparasites, meaning that they lay their eggs in the nests of other bees and their larvae feed on the stored food as well as on the egg or larva of the host species. They don’t gather pollen, however they visit flowers in search of nectar and of hosts, so they accomplish some pollination. Many of them are active early in the spring and quite a few parasitize Andrenidae, another group of early bees. They are a difficult group, only a few can be identified to species by photos alone.

Gallery of long-horned bees, Eucerini

February 20, 2012


Gallery of Bumble Bees

February 17, 2012

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Gallery of Andrenidae bees

February 15, 2012

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