Bee Identification Exercise
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Gainesville, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    139

    Default Bee Identification Exercise

    I was watching the bees in my Lamb's Ear this morning. Can someone identify these two? I think the first one is an Eastern Carpenter Bee. There are a couple dozen of these buzzing around the flowers, not sure where their nest might be. My honey bees don't seem to like these flowers, so happy some other bees are enjoying them.

    The second one has this hover and dart flight pattern. It seems more interested in chasing the other bees away than landing on any flowers. About honey bee sized, not even sure it's a bee. Any ideas?

    150611 Carpenter1.jpg 150611 Carpenter3.jpg 150611 Strange Bee1.jpg 150611 Strange Bee2.jpg


    Thanks in advance,

    Erik
    In my second winter with 3 Langs and 2 Top Bar hives
    https://beeswitheeb.wordpress.com/

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    2,208

    Default Re: Bee Identification Exercise

    Perhaps Mason bee,mason bee,hornet,hornet
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Chilliwack, BC, Canada
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: Bee Identification Exercise

    #4 is a European Wool Carder Bee.

    The male stakes a patch of lambs ear and will try to fend off other insects by head butting them. Later in the year the females will use the hairs from the plant as cocoon material. They're a lot of fun to watch.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Gainesville, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    139

    Default Re: Bee Identification Exercise

    Yup, that's it, a European Wool Carder Bee. Thanks, Amasa. #3 is the same bee from the front. They are quite the spectacle to watch, as you say he has an area staked out and tries to chase away the others.

    So do you know #1 and #2? WVBC suggested a mason bee, but I think they look more like the Eastern Carpenter Bee pictures I've seen?

    Thanks again,

    Erik
    In my second winter with 3 Langs and 2 Top Bar hives
    https://beeswitheeb.wordpress.com/

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    2,208

    Default Re: Bee Identification Exercise

    Mine is definitely a suggestion as I have only seen my honey bees, mason bees, bumble bees and wasps. How cool that the last 2 are carpenter bees. The antenae on the first 2 brought to mind mason bees and the hard yellow marking on the latter a wasp
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Iowa
    Posts
    6,034

    Default Re: Bee Identification Exercise

    First two are bumble bees. Carpenter bees have shiny abdomens. Tough to tell if fuzzy in second pic, but it appears that it is fuzzy.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Chilliwack, BC, Canada
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: Bee Identification Exercise

    Erik, this is a wild guess, but a quick google search turned up a handy guide of bumble bees in the east (and west for anyone interested). It looks like the Common Eastern Bumble Bee.

    WBVC the last two are of Wool Carder Bees. They were brought over from Europe in the early 60's to NY state to use for pollination and have been slowly migrating across North America making it all the way to the west coast. I've had them in my yard for about 10 years(?) along with an, ever growing!, ugly patch of lambs ear to support them.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    2,208

    Default Re: Bee Identification Exercise

    I think I might have been squishing them thinking they were hornets/wasps!
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Gainesville, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    139

    Default Re: Bee Identification Exercise

    Yes, they do seem to have fuzzy abdomens, so probably not carpenters. I was wondering... there were so many of them.

    Found this guide from the Xerces society finally that has more detailed info.

    http://www.xerces.org/wp-content/upl...Bumble_Bee.pdf

    Based on this, I do think they are Common Eastern Bumble Bees (Bombus impatiens). Looks like they nest in open fields and woods, which makes sense given our area. They sure do like the Lamb's Ear. They been on it for the past couple days.

    Thanks for the help,

    Erik
    In my second winter with 3 Langs and 2 Top Bar hives
    https://beeswitheeb.wordpress.com/

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Gainesville, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    139

    Default Re: Bee Identification Exercise

    Just FYI, I also shared the second picture on Twitter. Someone posted back and said that this bee is a two-spotted bumblebee (Bombus bimaculatus) because of the yellow on the T2 segment.

    I didn't realize bumble bee identification was quite so hard

    Erik
    In my second winter with 3 Langs and 2 Top Bar hives
    https://beeswitheeb.wordpress.com/

  12. #11
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Chilliwack, BC, Canada
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: Bee Identification Exercise

    Bug identification can be a nightmare! It took me about a week to figure out what the carder bees were by sifting through pages and pages of images of black and yellow insects over on bugnet.

    Glad you finally found an answer.

    WBVC, no worries!

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