Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sunflower Lovers- Bees

A native Megachile sp. bee, see the feathered bottom
for collecting pollen instead of pollen baskets on the legs.
Our sunflower forest attracts the attention of many types of insects, and of course bees are making a good showing.  Sunflowers are a bee's favorite color and shape full of nectar and pollen for their hives.  Since the sunflowers are a native type, we are getting more species than just the European Honey Bee, Apis mellifera. There are about 4000 species of bees not to mention wasps, who also eat pollen like bees, and non-Hymenoptera bee mimics in North America.  Many types of bees specialize on a particular plant, and many are solitary, some dig burrows, and some eat only pollen.   Our bees are fascinating, but often over looked simply because we don't know they are there.  This morning there were at least 10 different bee species working to gather pollen and nectar.  I only succeeded in photographing 4 species since the bees were busy as bees, not stopping long enough to get the shot.  
I believe this is another Megachile sp. but,
I don't know which species.

There were also numerous other insects and spiders that I will feature in coming posts.  

I also follow a blog called Sketching in Nature and thought I'd do a few quick (busy as a ...) doodles, too.  It's fun to try sketching animals as you see them.  

Do you have any bee visitors to your garden?

This tiny bee was about 1/4 inch long and has pollen baskets.
A Cuckoo Bee, it looked like it was hunting for other bugs.
I don't know what exactly is happening. 
My favorite!  Fuzzy Bright Yellow Butt!