|Sweat Bee. Green bees - who knew?|
One of the joys of this summer has been watching the insect activity around my flowering plants. As you know, this is my first year as a beekeeper and I have been mindful of my little friends as I chose plants for my gardens. What has been unexpected is the variety of insects I see every day on the flowers. Over the course of a couple of days I took photos of as many different pollinators as I could. Identification of some of these insects is tricky, so if you know what they are, please let me know!
|Italian Honey Bee?|
Wasps have four wings like a bee and come in a variety of sizes, ranging from very small to very large. Can anyone help me identify any of the following wasps?
|Many wasps have bee-like markings.|
Syrphid, Hover or Flower Flies look like bees or wasps, many having yellow and black stripes, but they only have one pair of wings and tend to hover rather than fly from flower to flower. I watched as one Flower Fly hovered and attacked the honey bees, pushing them off the flowers!
Butterflies and Beetles
|Lady birds (bugs) are everywhere in my garden this year - red, yellow, even green!|
|Anyone know what this is? Note the proboscis.|
Most bees are solitary in nature, living alone in trees or underground. This is true for the majority of native bees. One way to tell if a bee is a solitary variety is to look at their legs. Solitary females do not have collection baskets, like Honey bees, instead they have feathery hind legs with which to catch the pollen.
|This solitary bee is tiny. Can anyone identify?|
|Enormous solitary Carpenter bee. This bee's buzz was so loud it drowned everything else out.|
|I think this is a solitary Valley Carpenter Bee. All black except for a white stripe on the lower back.|
|This is a different Valley Carpenter Bee. Note the different color pollen.|
|These are three different Bumble bees working on stripping the pollen from my oregano.|
|Note the beautiful pink pollen sacks!|
|Bees are so cool!|
The most common kind of Honey bee are the European Italian and Russian bees (Apis. mellifera). I have been trying to learn how to tell the two apart but am not having much luck. It seems there are variations of color within both species, with the Italian bee being a lighter yellow. Doe any one have any pointers?
|Here are some variations of Honey bee markings.|
|Italian Honey bee?|
|Hard at work.|
Not a bad variety of pollinators for one small garden! I love watching the pollinators at work. The bees especially are fascinating. Early in the morning they are frantic, moving at lightening speed between flowers, their pollen sacks bulging. It is hard to take good photos because they just don't stay still.
|Bumble Bee butt.|
Around four o'clock is the time for photos. By four, they are exhausted. Moving much more slowly from flower to flower, if I'm lucky I'll find a few bees resting in the sun. Take it easy little bee, the flowers will still be here tomorrow.
Take a moment and watch the pollinators in your garden.