Category: native bees

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

My Sanctuary

Before:

This was the photo I took of my house from the backyard when I decided to buy it. Those windows downstairs? That’s the livingroom/kitchen. My house is a bird blind. I love it. Anyways. I just now attempted to retake this photo, which was impossible because (1) physically getting to the location where I had taken this photo would be an adventure in getting personal with some trees and maybe poison ivy (2) you cannot actually see the house… at all… from that spot. But anyways.

After 3 years:

Feels good to have a yard after 14 years in apartments!

Also! Me with my elderberry bush last June (2018):

Me with my elderberry bush now (July 2019):

My baby is SO TALL!!! 😀 You can see her in the left side of the photo of my jungle. I love her. She was a gift for giving an insect talk at a garden club. They gave me some other great plants, mostly groundcover. I didn’t expect the elderberry would grow so tall, so fast! And the groundcover plants are now deciding they want to teleport their decendants to other, random areas of the garden. Yes, please! Ruellia everywhere!

This is why I’m so stressed out about not being able to find a job in Austin. I can’t move. This yard is my connection to nature. I discovered insects here. I have entomologists commenting on things I find in my yard, saying they are rare or out of range. The trees I have nurtured are my children! If I move, how can I trust they won’t be neglected, or worse, cut down?

Who would want a lawn when they could have paradise?

July 8, 2019

@magnulia lol they sure do!! I keep track on iNaturalist with a project for my yard. So far, 860 different species of bugs!

There are more, I’m a year behind uploading photos because… life happens!

July 8, 2019

Also! Those sad little dinky bushes? They’re crape myrtles. Here they are now:

Hard to see, but a 4th one (purple!) popped up to make the arrangement symmetrical. Perfect. I was told you’re “supposed” to prune them down every winter (essentially back down to nothing), but every winter, I see birds go nuts eating the seeds off of them! Why would I prune them and remove all that bird food?!

They are non-native, but they are big and bushy, and provide great shelter for the birds in my yard. A lady cardinal had beed injured by a hawk, but was able to get away from him in the white one, and the hawk was unable to get her. She lived! Also, some native insects do eat the leaves, plus, the leaves are the favorites for the leaf-cutter bees in my yard:

Those perfect circles were cut from the leaves by leaf-cutter bees who use the material to build their nests! I’ve seen holes in pokeweed and other native plants a couple times, but as soon as spring hits, the crape myrtles start looking like Swiss cheese.

Native plants are best, but if you already have non-natives, they can still play an important role in supporting the habitat you create with native species—you don’t need to worry about removing them in most cases!

July 8, 2019

@snepwig *nervous laughter* I live in an HOA…

July 9, 2019

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

My Sanctuary

Before:

This was the photo I took of my house from the backyard when I decided to buy it. Those windows downstairs? That’s the livingroom/kitchen. My house is a bird blind. I love it. Anyways. I just now attempted to retake this photo, which was impossible because (1) physically getting to the location where I had taken this photo would be an adventure in getting personal with some trees and maybe poison ivy (2) you cannot actually see the house… at all… from that spot. But anyways.

After 3 years:

Feels good to have a yard after 14 years in apartments!

Also! Me with my elderberry bush last June (2018):

Me with my elderberry bush now (July 2019):

My baby is SO TALL!!! 😀 You can see her in the left side of the photo of my jungle. I love her. She was a gift for giving an insect talk at a garden club. They gave me some other great plants, mostly groundcover. I didn’t expect the elderberry would grow so tall, so fast! And the groundcover plants are now deciding they want to teleport their decendants to other, random areas of the garden. Yes, please! Ruellia everywhere!

This is why I’m so stressed out about not being able to find a job in Austin. I can’t move. This yard is my connection to nature. I discovered insects here. I have entomologists commenting on things I find in my yard, saying they are rare or out of range. The trees I have nurtured are my children! If I move, how can I trust they won’t be neglected, or worse, cut down?

Who would want a lawn when they could have paradise?

July 8, 2019

@magnulia lol they sure do!! I keep track on iNaturalist with a project for my yard. So far, 860 different species of bugs!

There are more, I’m a year behind uploading photos because… life happens!

July 8, 2019

Also! Those sad little dinky bushes? They’re crape myrtles. Here they are now:

Hard to see, but a 4th one (purple!) popped up to make the arrangement symmetrical. Perfect. I was told you’re “supposed” to prune them down every winter (essentially back down to nothing), but every winter, I see birds go nuts eating the seeds off of them! Why would I prune them and remove all that bird food?!

They are non-native, but they are big and bushy, and provide great shelter for the birds in my yard. A lady cardinal had beed injured by a hawk, but was able to get away from him in the white one, and the hawk was unable to get her. She lived! Also, some native insects do eat the leaves, plus, the leaves are the favorites for the leaf-cutter bees in my yard:

Those perfect circles were cut from the leaves by leaf-cutter bees who use the material to build their nests! I’ve seen holes in pokeweed and other native plants a couple times, but as soon as spring hits, the crape myrtles start looking like Swiss cheese.

Native plants are best, but if you already have non-natives, they can still play an important role in supporting the habitat you create with native species—you don’t need to worry about removing them in most cases!

July 8, 2019

bugkeeping:

AGH I just found out I’m one of the finalists for the Apis M pollinator week photo contest!!!!! My entry is photo #3!!!! Please go vote

You can also vote on Facebook!

!!!

theredshirtwholived:

systlin:

the-awkward-turt:

nanonaturalist:

starcults:

a-wandering-intern:

terrible-tentacle-theatre:

nanonaturalist:

thegreatpigeonking:

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

nanonaturalist:

alwayshere195:

fireheartedkaratepup:

thebeeblogger:

foxthebeekeeper:

jumpingjacktrash:

libertarirynn:

bollytolly:

l0veyu:

viva-la-bees:

fat-gold-fish:

how do u actually save bees?

  • Plant bee-friendly flowers
  • Support your local beekeepers
  • Set up bee hotels for solitary bees
  • If you see a lethargic bee feed it sugar water
  • Spread awareness of the importance off bees

+Don’t eat honey✌🏻

NO.

That will not help save the bees at all. They need the excess honey removed from their hives. That’s the beekeepers entire livelihood.

Seriously refusing to eat honey is one of those well-meaning but ultimately terrible ideas. The bees make way too much honey and need it out in order to thrive (not being funny but that was literally a side effect in Bee Movie). Plus that’s the only way for the beekeepers to make the money they need to keep the bees healthy. Do not stop eating honey because somebody on Tumblr told you too.

excess honey, if not removed, can ferment and poison the bees. even if it doesn’t, it attracts animals and other insects which can hurt the bees or even damage the hive. why vegans think letting bees stew in their own drippings is ‘cruelty-free’ is beyond me. >:[

the fact that we find honey yummy and nutritious is part of why we keep bees, true, but the truth is we mostly keep them to pollinate our crops. the vegetable crops you seem to imagine would still magically sustain us if we stopped cultivating bees.

and when you get right down to it… domestic bees aren’t confined in any way. if they wanted to fly away, they could, and would. they come back to the wood frame hives humans build because those are nice places to nest.

so pretending domestic bees have it worse than wild bees is just the most childish kind of anthropomorphizing.

If anything, man-made hives are MORE suitable for bees to live in because we have mathematically determined their optimal living space and conditions, and can control them better in our hives. We also can treat them for diseases and pests much easier than we could if they were living in, say, a tree.

Tl;dr for all of this: eating honey saves the bees from themselves, and keeping them in man-made hives is good for them.

✌️✌️✌️

Plus, buying honey supports bee owners, which helps them maintain the hives, and if they get more money they can buy more hives, which means more bees!

I tell people this. About the honey and what to do to save bees. I also have two large bottles of honey in my cabinet currently. Trying to get some flowers for them to thrive on. Support your bees guys

… uh guys… the whole “Save the Bees!” thing is not about honeybees. It’s about the decline of native bees almost to the point of extinction. Native bees do not make honey. Honeybees are domesticated. Taking measures to protect honeybees is as irrelevant to helping the environment as protecting Farmer John’s chickens.

To help save native bees, yes, plant NATIVE flowers (what naturally grows where you live? That’s what your bees eat!), set up “bee hotels,” which can be something as simple as a partially buried jar or flower pot for carpenter bees, and don’t use pesticides. Having a source of water (like a bird bath or “puddles” you frequently refresh) is also good for a variety of wildlife.

Want to know more about bees that are not honeybees?

Dark Bee Tumblr is here to help [link to post chain about forbidden bees]

ALSO also also

Every place has different types of bees. Every place has different types of plants/flowers. Those hyped-up “save the bees” seed packets that are distributed across North America are garbage because none of those flowers are native in every habitat. Don’t look up “how to make a bee hotel” and make something that only bees from the great plains areas would use if you live on the west coast.

Look up what bees you have in your home! Here’s a great (excellent) resource: https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/630955-Anthophila

This is every bee that has been observed and uploaded to the citizen science network of iNaturalist. You can filter by location (anywhere in the world! This is not restricted to the US!), and you can view photos of every species people have added. Here’s the page for all bees, sorted by taxonomy, not filtered to any specific location [link]. Have you seen a bee and want to know more about it, but you don’t know what kind of bee it is? Take a picture, upload it to iNat, and people like me will help you identify it–and it will also become part of the database other people will use to learn about nature!

Some native Texan bees I’ve met!

A sweat bee! [link to iNat]. These flowers are tiny, no larger than a dime.

A ligated furrow bee! [link to iNat] They burrow and nest underground.

A longhorn bee! [link to iNat] I don’t know where they nest, but I often find them sleeping on the tips of flowers at night (so cute!)

Meet your local bees! Befriend them! Feed them! Make them homes! Love them!

This is one of the native bees I met in Arizona! This handsome man is a male Melissodes sp., AKA a type of long-horned bee. I saved him when he was drowning in a puddle.

I love him

This is a great post all in all but I’d just like to note that colony collapse syndrome is definitely a thing, so domestic honeybees are absolutely in danger as well

Europen Honey Bees are an invasive species in the US and compete with native bees.

Native bee populations are specifically evolved to pollinate certain native plants. Most are unlikely to have a significant effect on the pollination of the non-native crops that people need to grow to survive. It’s true that honeybees will compete with native bees as well, and can be classified as an invasive species, but so long as native bees are supported and native flora is maintained, there is no reason why they shouldn’t be able to coexist. And while there’s a whole different argument to be had about the negative effects of growing nonnative crops at all, if they fail, as they likely would without the honeybees that a large percentage of farmers keep to pollinate their and other local crops, the effects on humanity will be catastrophic 

Lest people think I am anti-honeybee (no? I love honeybees?? They are precious??), the above is correct. Like it or not, the way we grow our food (much of which is not native to where it’s farmed) absolutely requires pollinators like honeybees. We would have a hugely massive food crisis on our hands without honeybees.

But, because so much $$$ is tied into the continued production of food, governments and food production companies will do whatever they can to mitigate the effects of colony collapse and other honeybee health issues. What can you do to help honeybees? Buy and eat food. Easy, right?

What is being done to protect native bees? Well,

1) Scientists and researchers are feverishly trying to get them listed as protected species and absolutely failing (see @thelepidopteragirl’s post about colleagues of hers: [link]).

2) Scientists and researchers are trying to get pesticides known to have devastating effects on bees and other pollinators banned and absolutely failing ([link]).

3) Scientists and science communicators (like me now, apparently) are trying to spread this information about native bees and their importance so more people can do little things like plant native flowers (lookup North American species for your zip code here: [link]), change how often they mow their lawns ([link]), and vote out the assholes who are profiting by destroying our environment ([link]). Success on this one: TBD, and by people like us.

As a gift to the honeybee lovers out there, please accept this photo of one making out with a stinkhorn mushroom:

^An excellent post on the complexities of the “Save the Bees” movement

To add, honeybees are also having problems in, you know, Europe and Asia, where they are native!

I feel like that gets forgotten by many, as Tumblr is very USA centered. 

@nanonaturalist don’t you mean bee-friend them?

*sigh* Please, allow me to introduce you to my roommate, Augochloropsis sp., a sweat bee (Austin, Texas):

Here is a close personal friend of mine, American Bumble Bee (Keller, Texas):

I traveled to Alberta last summer, and was able to meet up with an acquaintance, Cryptic Bumble Bee (Calgary, Alberta):

And the foreign exchange student staying with her, European Wool Carder Bee (Calgary, Alberta):

Flashback to the days before I dated my posts *shudders*
April 8, 2019

Hi! I study native bees too (in undergrad and now as a grad) and I was wondering if you do species-level IDs for those tough genera like Dialictus, Nomada, Andrena, etc? My postdoc associate knew how to, but I was never taught them and workshops I see are always to genus level. I will need to ID these toughies this summer and am not sure how to go about learning them. Do you have any resources or advice? Thank you!

My coworkers and I are still learning those groups, they are super hard! We are working on multiple projects (bees and non-bees) so the learning part is a slow going. We are using multiple

online/book keys and honestly, the best advice I was given is to just keep looking at reference specimens! We’ve got a pretty decent reference collection and that has helped so much!

I’m sorry this isn’t the greatest answer, but man some of the bee genera is just hard!

zoologicallyobsessed:

Wallace’s giant bee (Megachile pluto)

BACKGROUND

This giant bee has been making headlines recently for its rediscovery in 2019 of the first live female. We actually know quite a bit about this reclusive bee despite it coming it and out of discovery for zoologists. This also isn’t the first time this bee has been “rediscovered.” Since it’s discovery and collection in 1858 by Alfred Russel Wallace it was thought to have been extinct until 1981, when American entomologist Adam C. Messer discovered six nests of these giant bees on the Bacan Islands in Moluccas, Indonesia. In fact the greatest contribution to our current understanding of the Wallace’s giant bee is thanks to Adam C. Messer. 

After 1981 this bee remained elusive in the wild until 2018, in which two specimens were found and collected and subsequently sold on eBay for $9000 to collectors. This highlights the lack of protection that is afforded to this rare species and that is still a major concern now that this species has been observed once more. 

What makes this 2019 sighting so exciting is that it was the first female to be sighted, filmed and photographed (before being released). She was found living within a termite nest in Indonesia.  

WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THIS BEE

Thanks to entomologist Adam C. Messer we know a surprising lot for such a rare and elusive species. Megachile pluto is the largest known living bee species found in Indonesia on only three islands of the North Moluccas in Indonesia: Bacan, Halmahera and Tidore.

Messer published a paper on his findings in 1984 (link to his full paper below)

Which found that M.pluto is a type of resin bee displaying strong sexual dimorphism; while females grow to 38mm with a wingspan of 64mm and large

mandibles, males are only 23mm with much smaller mandibles. Both species display a bright, distinct white band across their abdomen. 

M.pluto are a solitary species of bee that build communal nests however inside the nests of the termite species: Microcerotermes amboinensis, in what could possibly be obligate. They build their nests inside the termite nest using resin which female bees foraging from an Asian species of tree; Anisoptera thurifera using those massive mandibles to chew through the bark of the tree.   

Very little is known about their population, distribution or habitat. The three islands that they have been observed on however all have palm oil plantations and as a result now occupy and continue to destroy much of the native habitat, which could result in why this species is so difficult to observe in the wild. 

I want to kiss her on the mandible (if she’s okay with that)

February 24, 2019

World’s biggest bee found alive:

nunyabizni:

The giant bee – which is as long as an adult’s thumb – was found on a little-explored Indonesian island.

After days of searching, wildlife experts found a single live female, which they photographed and filmed.

Known
as Wallace’s giant bee, the insect is named after the British
naturalist and explorer Alfred Russel Wallace, who described it in 1858.

Scientists found several specimens in 1981, but it has not been seen since.

In January, a team followed in Wallace’s footsteps on a journey through Indonesia in an attempt to find and photograph the bee.

“It was absolutely breathtaking to see this ‘flying bulldog’ of an
insect that we weren’t sure existed anymore, to have real proof right
there in front of us in the wild,” said natural history photographer,
Clay Bolt, who took the first photos and video of the species alive.

“To
actually see how beautiful and big the species is in life, to hear the
sound of its giant wings thrumming as it flew past my head, was just
incredible. ”

Wallace’s giant bee (Megachile pluto)

  • With an estimated wingspan of two-and-a-half inches (6 cm), Wallace’s giant bee is the world’s largest bee
  • The
    female makes her nest in termite mounds, using her large jaw to collect
    sticky tree resin to line the nest and protect it from invading
    termites
  • The species depends on primary lowland forest for resin and the nests of tree-dwelling termites
  • Wallace,
    who co-developed the theory of evolution with Charles Darwin, described
    the bee as, “a large black wasp-like insect, with immense jaws like a
    stag-beetle”.

The discovery, in
the Indonesian islands known as the North Moluccas, raises hopes that
the region’s forests still harbour one of the rarest and most sought
after insects in the world.

There are currently no legal protections around its trade.

Trip
member and bee expert Eli Wyman, an entomologist at Princeton
University, said he hoped the rediscovery would spark future research
towards a deeper understanding of the life history of the bee and inform
any future efforts to protect it from extinction.

Environmental
group, Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC), which has launched a
worldwide hunt for “lost species”, supported the trip.

“By making
the bee a world-famous flagship for conservation, we are confident that
the species has a brighter future than if we just let it quietly be
collected into oblivion,” said Robin Moore.

In January, the group announced they had found more rare Bolivian frogs belonging to a species thought to be down to one male.

I came here to post about this GIANT LADY BEE too! 

I read about her this morning and it made me super emotional. This is the article I read: Rediscovering Wallace’s Giant Bee: In Search Of Raja Ofu, The King Of Bees by Clay Bolt  [link]. Yes, this article is written by the guy who took the first ever photos of the living bee!

And just in case you wanted to get super meta, the article opens up with this:


Caption on photo in above screenshot: “Natural history photographer Clay Bolt makes the first ever photos of a living Wallace’s giant bee at its nest, which is found in active termite [sic] in the North Moluccas, Indonesia. © Simon Robson” 

Yes, this is a photo of Clay Bolt taking that first photo of a living giant bee!

This is so amazing. Look at her. She is PERFECT. I LOVE HER. omg.

I know it’s fun to put her next to a honeybee for scale, but I want to see her next to some of those super tiny, fruit-fly sized sweat bees I met in Malawi. The entire colony of them could fit on one of her eyes!

February 21, 2019

Right so, I’m used to finding random bugs in my house at this point, but when I saw my cat paying a little *too much* attention to to something on the floor, and it was… a sweat bee… I didn’t even know what to do??? Like, how did you get in the house, little friend? What were you looking for? How can I best assist you in your endeavors? I put her on a potted basil leaf and she had flown off when I checked on her again. I hope she found whatever it was she was looking for and I hope it wasn’t inside a cat.

Seen November 15 / Posted Nov 18, 2018

Bees of Alberta AKA “Calgar-bees”

So I FINALLY caught up to my one-day work trip to exotic Calgary this summer, where I was stunned and astonished by HOW MANY dragonflies and bees I saw. Got the trip to the botanical garden uploaded to iNat, and every single bee species I saw was a new one to me. All seven species are represented above!

1. Great Basin Bumble Bee, Bombus centralis
2. Perplexing Bumble Bee, Bombus perplexus
3. Orange-legged Furrow Bee, Halictus rubicundus
4. Hunt’s Bumble Bee, Bombus huntii
5. European Wool Carder Bee, Anthidium manicatum
6. Cryptic Bumble Bee, Bombus cryptarum
7. Nevada Bumble Bee, Bombus nevadensis

Seen July 25 at Silver Springs Botanical Gardens in Calgary, AB
Posted October 8, 2018

Up, up, and away!

Photos from July 25 at Silver Springs Botanical Gardens in Calgary, AB
Posted October 8, 2018