Copyright © 2001-2015, Dick Locke. All Rights Reserved. Contact and Image Use Information This page features several extreme close-up pictures of bees and wasps. I now have a dedicated wasp page here.
Golden Acres Honey is using the above image in their trade booth.
Best guess is that it's either a Mason or Carpenter bee. April 2015 from near The Woodlands, TX. Nikon D750, 200mm f4 lens at f7.1, 1/1250s at ISO 640 matrix metered.
Check out all the pollen attached to the posterior of this guy, who was cruising the Black-eyed Susan flowers. I also was able to capture some detail in the eye. Nikon D810A, 200mm f4 macro lens, f10, 1/800s, ISO 500.
Once again, many thanks to Gil for details on this one: This is indeed a bee from the family Megachilidae, which includes both leaf-cutter bees (which make their nests from parts of leaves) and mason bees (which make their nests from tiny pebbles). Megachilids are are unusual in that they carry pollen on the underside of their abdomen, not on their legs. [This] photograph shows this well. This is a large group of hundreds of species, so it would be beyond my ken to identify the bee in your photograph to species. However, your first photograph also shows the bee lifting its abdomen horizontally while collecting pollen, and that is a characteristic of the genus Megachile, called “large leaf-cutter bees”. My best guess is your subject is a Megachile species.
From Indiana, 8/2008. Jonathan advises: It is a "cicada killer" Sphecius speciosus. The females dig burrows in the ground, hunt cicadas, drag them down the burrow, lay an egg in them and cover the entrance. The larvae feed on the paralyzed cicada. They are some of the largest wasps. Cicadas also make for good meals for anoles. Nikon D200 and Nikon 105mm f2.8 macro lens.
Below: Robber Bee and other bee pictures
This next bee is "robbing" nectar from the flower. Thanks to Conor Cahill (email@example.com) and the entomology mailing list, this has been identified as a Carpenter Bee. See the end of this page for more info
Male Carpenter Bee "Robbing" Nectar (Xylocopa virginica (Linnaeus)) from the Corolla by biting through the flower.
See this bee on my Morning in The Woodlands page
Green Bee: Agapostemon, a sweat bee (Halictidae, Halictini)
Details for above: Nikon N90s, Nikon 105 f2.8 AF macro lens, 1/60s @ f4, aperture priority mode using center-weighted metering, Fuji Velvia ASA 50 film, usual processing in Photoshop.
Click to see this bee on my D100 page
Bee View #2
Bee Close Up
Lots of Bees on my Flower Pages
Robber Bee info: Pollinators such as bees won't do it for nothing, so flowers provide a rather energy-expensive 'bribe'--the nectar. Obviously the flower doesn't 'want' to hand out nectar to insects that aren't good pollinators. In theory therefore they adapt to keep out the bad pollinators, and allow the good ones in. The good ones tend to be big hairy ones--they will catch the most pollen and spread it around. It's therefore quite common to see flowers with a long narrow trumpet shape--the nectaries (the bits that secrete the nectar) are way at the bottom of that. In order to get at the nectar the bee has to struggle down and stick it's long tongue down but is forced to rub pretty hard against the stamens. If you look down the trumpet of a flower like this you should see the stamens--the bits that produce the pollen--on the top side of the flower about half way down. In order to get to the nectar a large bee has to rub past this. Among the various different species of bee there are those that have long tongues and those with short tongues. I can't pretend to be an expert on bees at all (I only ever worked on flies), but what you seem to have on your flower is a species of bee with a short tongue but strong mouthparts. Basically it's tongue is too short to get at the nectaries via the front door (I guess it would be regarded as a 'bad pollinator--maybe it isn't very hairy or whatever, I don't know). To get to the nectar therefore it bites through the petals and can lap up the nectar. Of course this is no use for the flower because the bee doesn't do any pollination for the flower.
Scholarly Paper on this topic: Nectar Robbing Paper
This page features bee/wasp close-up (macro or micro, in photo lingo) shots.
Most of the old film images are from Kodak E-200 slide film, Nikon N90s hand held, Nikon 105mm macro lens, with flash, ~ f32. Flash can be helpful for fast-moving critters.
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