Category: variety pack
























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✌🏻


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:

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

Gaze Upon My Christmas Bird Count Photos Ye Mi…

for they are too cute ugh

Vesper Sparrow

American Kestrel

Cedar Waxwing (who is she??)

One of THREE Bald Eagles coming in to home base (the nest is VERY far away!)

Tufted Titmouse is TOO MUCH I can’t TAKE IT (may or may not be hybridized with Black-crested Titmice at this spot)

Yellow-rumped Warbler

A retina-scorching Pine Warbler

White-throated Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

A Dark-eyed Junco?! I didn’t realize Texas got those!!

Eastern Floofbird *cough* I mean, Bluebird

There were at least five life birds my group saw that I didn’t (and some they saw SEVERAL times), so I took out my frustrations re: the sub-optimal bird photography conditions with something that WASN’T flying out of view constantly 

Hermit Thrush

Red-bellied Woodpecker

and speaking of Red-bellied Woodpeckers… My photo of a memorable one last year made it onto this year’s T-shirt!

2018 Lost Pines Christmas Bird Count held Dec 29, 2018, my region was within McKinney Roughs Nature Park

Posted December 31, 2018 at 6 am BEFORE going to bed because these photos weren’t going to edit and upload themselves onto iNat. 

Moth Variety Pack from the front yard tonight….

Moth Variety Pack from the front yard tonight.

I have been STRESSED OUT and BUSY and also I got bronchitis (but I didn’t lose my voice until AFTER I finished teaching a four hour workshop on iNaturalist Saturday morning, thankfully). The Master Naturalist Annual Meeting (and that four hour workshop…) was the major time sink the past few weeks so now I have no excuse for slacking in the blog department (besides the whole desperate employment search thing).


October 30, 2018

Bees of Alberta AKA “Calgar-bees”

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

Some highlights from Hornsby Bend on Saturday!…

Some highlights from Hornsby Bend on Saturday!
1. Beelzebub Bee-killer (robberfly) AKA Fuzzy Wuzzy Eats Some Bees
2. Summer Tanager daintily pulling paper wasp larvae out of the nest and eating them
3. Comet Darner dragonfly (HUGE!!!)
4. There was a bug puddle full of swimming bugs that looked unusual. I looked at them a bit closer. THEY WERE ALL GRASSHOPPERS. WHAT WERE THEY DOING?!?
5. Anhinga!
6. Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher Borb
7. Crab spiders gettin’s lucky. This is how they mate! The male’s sexual organs are part of his mouth, the females are where her bellybutton would be if she had one.
8. Common Nighthawk
9. Mystery bug baby!
10. A Yellow Warbler who is actually VISIBLE for once

September 17, 2018

Some of my guests from the past week. 1. Jump…

Some of my guests from the past week.
1. Jumping spider (Colonus sp.)
2. Potter wasp
3. Juvenile Texas spiny lizard
4. Flower weevil
5. Billbug snout beetle
6. Longhorn bee
7. Green anole (being purple cuz they change colors
8. Hoverfly
9. Bird grasshopper (their poops are HUGE and look like caterpillars, I was confused for a while!)
10. Carolina sphinx moth and Scissors grinder cicada

September 9, 2018

Hey! So my friend and I sitting in the grass f…

Hey! So my friend and I sitting in the grass found something, it was pretty big about the size of my thumb, metallic blue (It seriously looked like metal) jet black wings and stinger. It was bananas, we thought it was a toy because of it's size and just how bizzare it looked. Later found out it was most likely a Blue Mud Dauber. I didn't even imagine anything bug related could look like that but it's a favorite now. Ever find something that threw you off like that? I still think about that bug.

Oh yes, all the time. I swear every time I go outside I find something that I can’t even believe exists in nature. It happens so often that I don’t even remember all the specific instances anymore.

Some notable ones I do remember, though!


One night in April 2017, before I knew that I didn’t know anything about bugs, I saw this crane fly on the side of my house, eh, not too interesting. I was looking at all the cool moths that came to my porch light, when I saw this crane fly moving. And then I saw it attack and eat a moth. Crane flies are vegetarians. I was SO CONFUSED. It took me countless hours of searching and hunting and I couldn’t come up with anything. My best guess at the time was assassin bug I guess?? [link to iNat obs]. It turns out hanging flies are a thing, and they are predators that attack with their rear legs while hanging with their front legs. I had NO IDEA. 


This crab spider (Tmarus sp.) was camouflaging as a bud on this branch! 


Every single gall I have ever seen continues to blow my mind. These were the first. Here’s the iNat post where the magic happened 🙂 [link to iNat obs]


This mole crab (Lepidopa benedicti) was driving me insane because I could NOT identify it. I was the first person to add it to iNaturalist! [link to iNat obs] Not sure what you’re looking at? Hint: the “tail” is the antennae!

I could go on…


and on…


and on…


and on…


… but you probably get the idea. The whole reason I started this blog was because, as Charles Darwin put it, “I am dying by inches, from not having any body to talk to about insects.” And when you see stuff like THAT ^^^^ every day, and NOBODY wants to hear about it????? I had to yell into the void of the internet about it. Apparently the void is really into bugs so thanks y’all! ❤️

(those four above, in order: Arethaea katydid, stalk-eyed fly from Malawi, Zanna planthopper from Malawi, and Vine Sphinx caterpillar)

September 3, 2018

I’m Sad.


I’m having a rough night. Please send happy frogs to make me smile.

So sorry to hear you are sad. Please allow me to introduce you to my Hyperolius friends from Malawi.

Hyperolius argus (Argus reed frog)

Hyperolius marginatus. These two were cuddling behind some piping.

Both of these photos are of one of the H. marginatus friends from the piping.

Moar H. marginatus!! These are two different frogs from different parts of the country! They are fairly widespread.

A mystery Hyperolius! Who could it be? Nobody knows! A tiny friend

I wish you well!

Photos from Malawi, November 2017 / Posted September 1, 2018

pterygota:i also found these in the old enclos…


i also found these in the old enclosure. im going to see what the pupa turns into. i keep getting stuff with the plants, probably as small babies that grow. if i ever get something that eats or kills my bug im going to be so mad

The pupa may be a fly

The insect is definitely a fly. It’s a fruit fly, but not that kind of fruit fly (the joys of common names…). Fruit flies in the Tephritidae family are very pretty.

Paracantha sp. (Those eyelashes)

Eutreta sp (Those sequins)

Terellia palposa (That aesthetic)

August 23, 2018


@theprimalgodgnome submitted:

Low quality camera, high quality spider

the highest quality spider. 

They have:

Precious children

Graceful ladies

Handsome men

They are:






I could go on…

BUT I am so jealous you saw the red and white one!!!! Those are so good. I haven’t seen one yet. Some day!

Spinybacked Orbweaver Friends of Texas [link to iNat] 
posted August 16, 2018