Bee and Wasp Close-Up Images (Macro/Micro)

Copyright 2001-2008, Dick Locke.  All Rights Reserved.  Contact and Image Use Information 
This page features several extreme closeup pictures of bees and wasps.  Cicada Killer Wasp is new 2008.

Honey Bee and Colorful Flowers (Milkweed)

Golden Acres Honey is using the above image in their trade booth. 


"You talkin' to me?"
Some flavor of
Paper Wasp, Wimberly Texas, October 2003 (Nikon D100, 105 macro @f22, flash).  A lot of folks like this one...

Click: for less-cropped version of above

Wasp (Mud Dauber)

Cicada Killer Wasp

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.

Cicada Killer Wasp: Front View


Below: Robber Bee and other bee pictures
This next bee is "robbing" nectar from the flower. Thanks to Conor Cahill ( 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.

Honey Bees

Click to see this bee on my D100 page

Bee View #2

Bee Close Up

Lots of Bees on my  Flower Pages

Texas Wildflower Gallery 2005

Aphids & Flowers

More! Lizard & Bugs

SnailZ (& Fly)

Lizard & Bugs

Original Closeup Page

Spider: Doris the spider page


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.
Unless Otherwise Noted: All are from Kodak E-200 slide film, Nikon N90s hand held, Nikon 105mm macro lens, with flash, ~ f32. Flash is a must for fast-moving critters.

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