Saturday, August 4, 2012

Bee Watching

I have been very busy this past week, and all a quick glance into the garden seemed to reveal were flowers wilting in the heat. I didn't have any thoughts for a post, so I took my camera and went out to take some pictures of bees.

A honey bee on a penstemon
 I knew we had lots of honey bees: our neighbors across the street have twelve beehives.

....and on Julia Child

But only when I started looking at the bees closely did I realize how many other species come to the garden.

A wool carder bee (anthidium) (?) really liked my spanish lavenders which are just beginning their second cycle of bloom

As I was taking pictures, differences in behavior became apparent. Some bees didn't like me to come close while others (honey bees and carpenter bees) didn't seem to care. Some bees had a definite preference for certain flowers, but honey bees seemed the least discriminating. Watching bees turned out to be quite a lot of fun.

Ceratina bees (?)
I thought I would find a bee identification site and rattle off their names to you as if I were an expert, but that didn't turn out so easy: the University of California, Berkeley's site told me there were over 1,600 species of bees in California. I tried my best, but I am not at all sure the right names were assigned to the right bees :) But I hope you still enjoy the pictures.

This female Melissodes robustior (?) really took to a large plant of Cupid's Dart (catananche caerulea). I found the same bee there for days on end, and it looks like it collected lots of pollen.




A carpenter bee robbing nectar from a salvia




Carpenter bees are so slow it is quite easy to capture them in flight. Lots of pollen on this one.


A brief respite from photographing bees' bottoms :)
A leafcutter bee (megachile) (?)



Basye's Purple Rose is a big favorite of honey bees

I am not sure it is a pollinator :) but 'Mrs. E.G. Hill' is beautiful

An agapostemon texanus (ultra-green bee) (?)




22 comments:

  1. That camera of yours surely is buzzing with beauty.

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  2. Su per be !! Très belles photos

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  3. Wow, I'm not sure whether I enjoyed the flowers or the bees more. Maybe it's truly the combination! Incredible as always, Masha! And you sure have a wide variety of pollinators in your garden--a sign of a healthy ecosystem. :)

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  4. Great collection of flowers & bees)
    Pictures are very beautiful!

    xoxo,Juliana
    [pjhappies.blogspot.com]

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  5. We keep honeybees in our urban backyard, and love to watch the native bees that visit as well.

    Your photos are lovely.

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  6. Amazing, amazing pictures. I particularly like the Ultra Green Bee, what a great name! Love watching the bees in our garden too at this time of year.

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  7. What a beautiful and special pictures, Stunning flowers and stunning bees!

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  8. Great shots of bees. I find it rather difficult to shoot them even with shutter speed as high as 400, as they are always buzzing around, blurring my shots.

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  9. Masha, great photos! I love the flower you called it Cupid's Dart, it has a very bright blue color.

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  10. Była podwójna uczta w oglądaniu wspaniałych zdjęć. Piękne kwiaty i różnorodność pszczół. Pozdrawiam.
    Was a double treat in watching great photos. Beautiful flowers and the diversity of bees. Yours.

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  11. Hello Masha,congratulations on another series of unbelievable shots. I know you must have a very good camera but I would really like to know if you are in fact a professional photographer.

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  12. Thank you!

    Stiletto, my shutter speeds average between 500 and 1000, and yes, I also get a lot of blurry shots :(

    Alistair, you made my day!

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  13. I have had significantly fewer bees this year and have been wondering why. Even my arch nemesis leaf-cutter bees only made a weak showing. I pretty much have a no-bug-spray garden and you'd think it'd be safe haven. Sure are enough mosquitos.

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  14. Gode billeder af de smukke blomster/ insekter. Godt fanget.
    Tak for kigget.
    Ha´ en dejlig aften.

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  15. Fabulous images! When my husband saw your blog he thought for sure you are a pro.

    12 hives?! Those bees must be happy to live across the street from you.

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  16. Such beautiful photos. And such hardworking fellows bees are!

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  17. Thank you!

    Jess, I hope things will turn around for you - bees are sure better than mosquitoes!

    Sweetbay, thank you. I am happy to eat those bees' honey and think of summer :).

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  18. Really awesome photos! The 'ultra green' bee is my fav - we call these guys 'metallic green sweat bees' here, but I like your name better!

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  19. How nice that you get your neighbor's bees coming over! I, too, find that I have several different types of bees, but have no idea of their correct identification. I was hoping you had found a great website to identify them. But with so many different species (who knew that there were 1600 just in California!), I suppose I'll just be happy being able to identify a few butterflies!

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  20. You have captured these well. Bee's are quite beneficial to us all.

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  21. Great delivery. Solid arguments. Keep up the good spirit.

    Here is my web page facebook.com

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I am so glad you have stopped by!