Sunday, June 29, 2008


wool carder on weed tiny bee on achillia
little bee on clover green metalic bee on black eyed susan
bumble on blue honeybee on clover
green metallic on potato fly on fleabane fly on cilantro fly on blue
bumblebee on pink pea flowers bumble on rose
bumble on pea 2 bumble in yellow

I was searching for pollinators today. Bees, flies, wasps, etc. I even saw a hummingbird (though no photo).

I saw lots of wild bees: green metallics, wool carders and bumble bees. Also lots of small flies. A few wasps. Only ONE honeybee. This one was in my parents yard, which is within a mile of a bee keeper.

I was pleased to find lots of pollinators at my home garden, my community plot and my parents yard. Even though there were very few honeybees.

The bees spent most of their time on flowers and weeds adjacent to the vegetable garden, though I caught a few photos of bees on vegetables flowers. I think this shows the importance of companion planting (that is, planting flowering plants in your vegetables garden or letting some flowering weeds grow).


Bees have two pairs of wings (though it can be hard to see the second pair), three body segments and eyes that are smaller than their bodies. Flies have big eyes and only one pair of wings. Wasps have a waist that is more conspicuous than a bee's.

Flower flies (Syrphid flies) tend to sit on one flower for some time and move from flower to flower to collect pollen as bees do. They do not accumulate loads of pollen as female bees do, but they can be significant pollinators.

I sent the photos to BugGuide to get IDs for the ones I wasn't familiar with: from top left, Wool Carder Bee (Anthidium manicatum), female sweat bee Halictidae family(probably Lasioglossum spp.) on achillea, male leafcutter bee (Megachile spp.) on crimson clover leaf, green metallic bee on black-eyed susan (rudbeckia), bumblebee, honeybee on white clover flower, green metallic bee on potato flower, flower fly (Syrphid fly) on fleabane, fly on wild carrot, flower fly (Syrphid fly, probably Toxomerus marginatus), bumblebee on sweet pea flower, bumblebee on rambler rose, bumblebee on pea blossom, bumblebee on primrose.


ChrisND said...

Glad you found some pollinators and at least one honey bee. We've had a honey bee in the yard when the chives were in bloom -- I never saw more than on honey bee at a time though. This year there are definitely fewer.

Thanks for sharing the pictures!

Anonymous said...

I love your site :o)

I live in central CA, I have not seen a shortage of bees in my garden this year. In fact they are buzzing pretty loud by mid morning every day. I also have lot of praying mantises in my garden too this year which is fantastic.

Thanks for sharing your garden, it's very nice.

dinzie said...

Great set of pictures...A number look very much like ours in new zealand


Tina said...

Great pics! Have you thought to ask the bee keeper about any problems? I know that there have been severe problems during the last few years with honeybees in some parts of Germany due to bugs they had…

kathy said...

Great idea. I'd like to take a walk through the bee keeper's garden too, with my camera. It's a really great garden.

Amy said...

Beautiful beautiful photos. We just lost our bee laboratory here at Ohio State Unversity due to lack of funding.

kathy said...

After reading this note, I read your post on the nice honeybee research that was ongoing at OSI and the labs closure. Too bad. Its scary that Ohio lost 72% of its hives last year! But good to read that bees did better this year.

makhappy522 said...

Saw 2 been on my milkweed ALL day long! I was so surprised. Haven't seen 2 together in so long! Too bad I don't have milkweed in the backyard near the veges!

Choomma said...

My balcony garden is full of honey bees too, though God know how they survive in Dubai's heat. I am now putting out sugar syrup so that they have a continous supply of food. But they seem to love my plants and taking of with the leaves of some plants. Do bees usually do that?

Anonymous said...

I also garden in the Boston area and I have a very similar assortment of pollinators. It's so neat to see "my bugs" in your garden!

I too only see one honeybee at a time and a few bumblebees, with lots of little bees and syrphid flies. Love your pictures.

Zahra Ali said...

This is such a grt blog! i love ur pix! and i am absolutly delighted to see wildlife in your beautiful garden!

to keep me posted as you update your blog please!

kathy said...

Hi Chooma,

Maybe the bees that take off with your leaves are leaf cutter bees.