Category Archives: Bees

Pipevine Swallowtail


I saw a beautiful Pipevine Swallowtail today. For more, read here.

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Oh yeah, there’s this thing

Green Sweat Bee


It’s been a long time since I posted here, but I’m still doing a little bit of writing every day. A tiny bit of writing. A teeny, tiny bit of writing.
But September 4 is the anniversary of the day I started that streak, so it’s a good a time as any to come back here. Don’t ask me how long, because looking that up might keep me from finishing this post.
As you might guess from this picture of a beautiful little green bee, I’m more interested in bees than writing. I’m more interested in cooking than writing. I’m more interested in politics than writing.
But I can do whatever I like with this blog!

Guess what: Bumblebees can sting twice

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Bumblebees do not care if an intrusive gardener cuts down some overenthusiastic butterfly bush. They hardly notice if that gardener carries away that branch, should there happen to be luscious purple flowers to forage on. But if the bouncing of that branch drops that bee down the collar at the back of that gardener’s neck, bumblebees do not take kindly to being confined under the fabric of your shirt.

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Small carpenter bees everywhere

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The Eastern Carpenter bees have tiny little cousins, called naturally enough, the Small Carpenter Bees. Instead of digging into wood, the Small Carpenter bee nests in a broken or cut stem, adding cell after cell, forming a row of larvae. When she gets to the end, she builds a cell for herself and there she rests until her brood emerges.

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Carpenter Bee on patrol

Carpenter bee on patrol

Right about when the bumblebees show up, the Carpenter bees come out too. Bumblebees are placid, fuzzy fellows that take no notice of you. While they look like extra large bumblebee, the Eastern Carpenter Bees have a shiny tail, and the males will get in your face, and tell you in no uncertain terms to get out of their territory. You can tell the males by the way they patrol a nice patch of flowers, and by the pale patch on their face. For all that sass, male bees are all show and no stinger. (What they have instead of a stinger is deployed for the lady bees only.)

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Miner bees are where it begins

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National Pollinator Week officially began yesterday, so that’s my excuse for doubly belatedly posting about the bees that have emerged so far this spring. Spring begins with bumblebee queens hunting for a sheltered spot to build a new nest. On sunny days, honeybees come out to forage and replenish their stores as winter ends. And the bees in my yard that only come out in spring are the Early Miner Bees.

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Found some pollinators in the chives

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Sunday was a beautiful sunny day to go visit the Pollinator plot at the community garden. The chives have been flowering for some days, and I was looking forward to seeing the bees. Sure enough, the chives were hosting a bee party.

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It’s not too cold for peach blossoms

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The peach tree has clusters of pink blossoms poking out from the ends of its branches like brightly painted fingernails on fingertips.

The plum tree is still covered with fluffy white blossoms, but it’s been too cold for many bees to show up. On one sunny day last week, a honeybee visited the plum tree and maybe a half dozen small, seemingly black bees. The one clear photo I got only shows its tail, but more importantly shows its true color: darkest almost blackest green, a color shown mainly in the shimmer.

That color makes me pretty sure that they’re small carpenter bees, or Ceratina. They probably overwintered in the stems of shrubs in the yard, or maybe the sumacs growing next door. This is why I leave a lot of stems standing until spring before I cut them down. It’s nice to see them come back, and I’m sure we’ll see them again.

Bees in the spring

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I saw a honeybee visit the crocus today. A bumblebee seemed to be looking for a good spot under the crocuses to start her nest. Crocuses nestle in the sheltered pocket where snapdragons have stayed green all winter.  Crocuses bloom around the plum tree, which has so many buds of blossoms to come, you see it all nubbly from the kitchen.

The first bees of the year are bringing in spring.

Facing down the bee mimic

On these beautiful sunny days, I never get tired of watching the bees. It’s so soothing to watch them forage on the asters, the butterfly bush, the goldenrod. Bumblebees, honeybees, Carpenter bees, flying up and down the hill over and over again. But one of these bees is an imposter.

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