Bees, Wasps and Other Pollinators

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Bee Wolf on Rattlesnake Master

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Grass-carrying wasp on Boneset

What do you know about bees and wasps? I would assume probably as little as myself. For most of my adult life, I believed that all bees/wasps stung (not true). The only bees/wasps I knew were the common ones that did sting, like bald-faced hornets, yellow jackets, bumblebees and others. Over the summer, I have been photographing and identifying several of our common native bees and wasps.

But thanks to Heather Holm at www.restoringthelandscape.com/, I have been learning about pollinators. She has 4 beautiful downloadable posters on bees and wasps at her website.

Although I am just beginning my “pollinator experience”, I feel like a whole new world has opened up to me. I can spend an hour standing in the same spot entranced by what I am seeing. The experience connects me with nature in a wonderful new way.¬† It also helps to have a good macro lens on your camera to catch some of the action.

 

Great Black Wasp

Great Black Wasp on Mountain Mint

 

Another thing I have learned is that very few of the native bees/wasps sting. Even the large Great Black Wasp, does not sting. That really changed things for me because I am severely allergic to bees and I carry a bee kit with me. If I do get stung, I put some clay or crushed plantain on the wound within a minute and usually I will have no reaction.

 

 

 

Great Golden Digger Wasp on Dogbane.

Great Golden Digger Wasp on Dogbane.

Great Golden Digger Bee on Stiff Goldenrod

Great Golden Digger Bee on Stiff Goldenrod

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In past three weeks I have observed that specific flowers attract wasps. Some of those include: Rattlesnake Master, Dogbane, Mountain Mint, Boneset and Field Goldenrod. It was during the peak flowering time of each species that I saw the heaviest concentration of pollinators. I did not see what bees and wasps were attracted to in June and have not seen what plants will attract insects in September.

 

 

Sand Wasp on Mountain Mint

Sand Wasp on Mountain Mint

 

 

It has been a good beginning. I am looking forward to continuing to learning about these beautiful and unique creatures.

 

 

Long-Horned Bee (female) on Echinacea

Leaf-cutter bee on Echinacea

Long-Horned Bee (male) on butterfly weed

Carder bee on butterfly weed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bee Fly on Black-eyed Susan

Bee Fly on Black-eyed Susan

Thick-headed Fly on Rattlesnake Master

Thick-headed Fly on Rattlesnake Master

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honey bee on Hoary Vervain

Honey bee on Hoary Vervain

Bumblebee sp. on Monarda.

Bumblebee sp. on Monarda.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tiphiid Wasp on Rattlesnake Master

Tiphiid Wasp on Rattlesnake Master

Tiphiid Wasp and Great Black Wasp

Tiphiid Wasp and Great Black Wasp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paper Wasp (photo by Mike Farrell)

Paper Wasp (photo by Mike Farrell)

Cuckoo Bee

Cuckoo Bee

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bald-faced Hornet on Stiff Goldenrod

Bald-faced Hornet on Stiff Goldenrod

Yellow Jacket

Yellow Jacket

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