Posts Tagged 'bees'

Pollen Bumble Rumble

bombusFlying between these absurdly large flowers of hybrid rose mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos), this bumblebee was practically glowing yellow from all the pollen.bombusBut note how the wings remain mostly clean. Bees are hairy, the hairs statically charged to help pollen stick to them. Of course, you wouldn’t want your wings to be laden with pollen or anything else when you fly.

Some Pollinators

p1p2p3p4It’s National Pollinator Week, but we should be thanking the bees — and other pollinators — every day for the work that they do. And fighting like the dickens the exterminationists of the agribusiness/pesticide complex.

TX Insects

HeteronemiidaeWalking Stick on Peter’s bins. Texas has at least 16 species. AttaLeaf-cutter ant (Atta texana) highway. The ants are returning to their sprawling underground colonies with leaf fragments, which, farmer-like, they feed to the fungus they actually eat.Micrathyria hageniiThornbush Dasher (Micrathyria hagenii).Erythrodiplax umbrataBand-winged Dragonlet (Erythrodiplax umbrata).MyrmeleontidaeAntlion. This is the adult stage.antlionsWe saw many antlion traps, where buried nymphs wait for their lunch to fall down into the soft sand pits. txt6Large Carpenter bee of some kind in the bottlebrush. Anthanassa texanaTexan Crescents (Anthanassa texana) perpetuating the species.

Dead Wood?

post2The fence posts in Brooklyn Bridge Park are made from Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), a durable, naturally rot-resistant wood. Of course, like anything in a natural environment, even one as heavily managed as this, it will end up having more than a single, intended purpose.post3The top, for instance, is a great place for birds to perch, chew the fat (worm, berry) and, obviously, poop.post4The wood itself is home. I saw an unidentified insect — something Diptera or Hymenoptera — crawl into the hole on the left of this knot. I waited a while, but nothing emerged, so the mystery about what is nesting here remains.post5This fungus is right at home here, indeed, inseparable.post1And even busy bees need to rest every once and a while… this Megachilidae leaf-cutter is pausing on her way back to her nest with one of the ovals of fresh leaf she has chewed out. She’ll use this as lining in her nest. I’ve seen these types of bees before (you can’t see it here, but they collect pollen under their abdomen); I’ve seen their cut-outs on leaf margins; but this was the first time I’ve seen one of the bees with a piece of leaf, work in hand(s), as it were.


Clethra alnifolia

Slow Morning

Bombus impatiensBy which I mean a chilly morning, according to bumble bee standards. Burly little things, they warm themselves up by muscular action on chilly spring mornings, getting the jump on other pollinators who are smaller and more solar-powered. This looks like a Bombus impatiens, which, for all I know, is how you look on Monday mornings, too.

Early Fall

Yesterday morning around 10, it was under 60F and cloudy. The bumblebees were not quite warmed up. Some didn’t move at all, others were quite sluggish. Burly little things, with lots of muscle, which is one of the reasons they are one of the first flying bugs in the spring. They can warm themselves up by disjointing their wings and shaking themselves warm. They were flying by noon, and working the goldenrod. It was a late start to a fall day. I led some enthusiastic BBP volunteers — very enthusiastic, they were volunteering to weed afterwards — around Pier 1, looking for animals. A mouse was unexpected. Northern Flickers kept zooming around; they are passing through now in a crowd, flashing their yellow underwings in undulating flights. The milkweed beetles were in their scrums. A good bit of warbler activity, but mostly after the walk; everybody needed to warm up, it seems.


Brooklyn Bridge Park’s horticulturalist Rebecca McMackin told me recently that she consciously works to create habitat. The proof is in the animals: Spot-winged glider (Pantala hymenaea), a new species for me.
A reader of this blog, in private conversation, noted how the carrion beetle thing yesterday was a little queasy, but I personally find these lady bug larva the most daunting of insect forms. Fast, furious devourers; clearly the model for the thing they put in Pavel Chekov’s ear. Digger wasp (Scolia dubia), another of the blue/black-winged wasps. (I was looking at some crows up close recently and they have a similar blue-purple iridescence.) Very distinctive yellow spots and red hairs on abdomen. About an inch long. Deserves another view:Bumblebee, butt-up in bindweed. (Bindweed is generally freelance habitat, and this was winding up some fencing unbidden by the hard-working staff.)

BBP is now just over two years old. All my BBP posts are here in chronological order.

Short-horned Long-horn

Genus Melissodes, a long-horned bee. The females don’t have the really long horns (actually they are antennae). Note the hairy legs thick with pollen.A solitary bee. There are more than a dozen species in New York. Sunflowers are one of their main food sources.


Last weekend, I visited the Flatbush Gardener’s garden. The highlight was the mountain mint, alive with pollinators. I mean, jumping with pollinators: several species of bees, wasps, flies, and butterflies going at it. Here are a couple of the highlights:
Great Golden Digger Wasp, Sphex ichneumoneus.One of the grass-carrying wasps of genus Isodontia.
Cuckoo bee, Triepeolus lunatus.

Notice the purple markings on the tiny flowers of this mint. I imagine those looks spectacular to those creatures, like these, can can see into the ultraviolet portion of the spectrum.

Thanks to my host Chris for the identifications on these. Check out his Flickr for more shots of the wide, wonderful world of pollinators he’s found in his portion of backyard Brooklyn. (In my next couple of posts, I’ll continue on this hymenoptera kick.)


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