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) (?)


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

  2. Su per be !! Très belles photos

  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. :)

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


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

    Your photos are lovely.

  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.

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

  8. Awesome pictures !

  9. 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.

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

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

  16. 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.

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

  18. 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 :).

  19. 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!

  20. 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!

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

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

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