Tuesday, July 30, 2013

More native bees

More Native Bees in Minnesota (07-28-13)

On Sunday, we had the joy of sharing a wonderful meal with our good friends in their garden. During the course of our conversation, our friend mentioned she hadn't seen many bees (bumble bees and honey bees) and was worried whether or not her garden was being pollinated properly. Well, it was! With a little bit of observation we noted at least five different species of native bees buzzing around her garden. The first was the common bumble bee we see flying around MN. I'm not sure what the species is exactly, but those of you who live here will know which one I'm talking about. It's fat (nearly round!), and has vivid yellow and black stripes. Unfortunately, I only saw one and wasn't quick enough to snap a picture.

Bee #1
Another bee was saw, I'm fairly certain was another bumble bee species. It was smaller and not so fat. Probably in between the size of a honey bee and the "regular" bumble bee we're used to. It also wasn't striped, but had a distinct yellow section and black section. Here's a couple pictures.


 Bee #2
Another bee we saw was pure black and about the size of a honey bee. It was pretty fun to watch them get covered in bright yellow pollen from the squash plants!



Bee #3
This next one I thought, at first was the same as the andrenid bees I saw in my garden. It was very small, only about 1/2" long and had humungous pollen baskets on its legs. After inspecting it a little more carefully, however, it's obvious it's not the same bee. This one has very distinct stripes with little to no hair on its back half, while the andrenid bees had no stripes and more hair.



Bee #4
Finally, we saw this beautiful bee. A little larger than the andrenid bees and the bees pictured above. Probably about 1/2" long or just over. It was bright metallic green on the front half and striped on the back half.




I haven't had time to look up exactly what these all are yet, so if any of you have any ideas, let me know!


Addendum:
- Here's a diagram of a variety of Minnesota Bumble Bees. What do you think about bee #1? I'm thinking maybe the Common Eastern Bumble Bee or Bombus impatiens. On a similar note, the big, fat, striped bumble bee that we are all familiar with in Minnesota (that I didn't get a picture of unfortunately), I'm thinking that one is the Black and Gold Bumble Bee or Bombus auricomus.
- Bee #4 looks like some sort of Metallic Green Bee, such as identified as Agapostemon virescens over at Oak Hill Apiary.

What does everyone think? Any help on bees #2 and #3?

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