Week Day 3: So what's the difference between a wasp and a bee? It's a tricky question to answer when there are 120,000 different species among them. The truth is, there's a reason why we confuse the two so often, because there's a lot of overlap in how they look and behave. Here I have detailed some of the differences and similarities of a wasp and bee that are familiar to many gardeners. #waspweek#wasp#bee#compare#pollinators#pollinatorgarden#masonbee#masonwasp#photooftheday
Wasp week day 2:
I must admit, I have a penchant for loving the unloved creatures of the world. They represent a golden opportunity for mankind to transcend its anthropocentric tendencies, acting as catalysts for a dialogue aimed at a more accurate and less self-centered understanding of the world. Like most enthusiasts of the natural world, I’m saddened that in conversation the mere mention of a snake, a wild mammal, or a wasp elicits the reply of a usually unfounded and exaggerated horror story about said animal. I imagine a future where we can move beyond merely liking the animals that are attractive or do us some benefit and learn to see ecosystems and all their creatures, no matter how big, small, intimidating, ugly, parasitic, or predatory they may be as valuable and respected elements to a healthy ecosystem.
And so Today's image is of a paper wasp, one of The world's most unloved creatures.
Welcome to wasp week! This week I'll be posting daily images of wasps--the creatures most often confused with bees. I often find it amusing when I see children's books with the standard yellow and black striped "bee," which is a color pattern rarely found in bees, but common in wasps - a creature few people consider cute and cuddly. The prevalent aversion to wasps is something I find very unfortunate. They are undeniably beautiful creatures with fascinating behaviors and extraordinary diversity. Almost anything you can imagine is present in the wasp world. Like every creature, they have an important purpose in the world. It is well publicized that they are predators and some will sting to defend their nest, but they are also pollinators and pest controllers. To start things off, the sleek and colorful Philanthus gibbosus, aka the "beewolf." Picture her in sea holly (Eryngium). #insect#wasp#beewolf#pollinator#pollinatorgarden#groovy#colorful#photooftheday#waspweek
A worker black-tailed bumblebee visiting hyssop. In this image her pollen basket is shown to good advantage as a glob on her hind legs. Here is where she'll collect the pollen she gathers while out and about in the garden. She'll fly it back to the nest for nurturing the next generation of bumblebees. The color of the pollen basket is telltale of what flowers she has been visiting, as different plants have varying colors of pollen. #pollinators#bees#macro#bumblebee#canon7dmarkii#hyssop#conservation
I have never known a bee as an individual quite like this male long-horned bee. Ever since my thistle plant started blooming three weeks ago he set up shop there. I could recognize him by a unique marking of a small piece missing from his right wing. I've walked out to the thistle plant dozens of times and without fail, there he has been, feeding on the flowers by day, sleeping in them at night. I even featured him in an image posted last week where he was feeding on a thistle. The past couple of days have been rainy and cool, and I noticed him sleeping on a flower in the rain. He looked soaked and forlorn, and had chosen a position on the flower that made him quite vulnerable to the flycatchers(birds) in my garden. So I coaxed him into a container for the night. This morning after taking this shot, I released him back on the thistle and there he continued for the rest of the day. #bee#pollinator#conservation#nature#photooftheday#story#macro
A bee species featured for the first time on this page: Hoplitis albifrons. Generally bees are most diverse in the desert regions of North America but Hoplitis bees are the exception, with most species being found in cooler, more northern habitats. Looking and acting much like an Osmia spp. mason bee (of which they are very closely related), they will also nest in tubes and bee boards. Instead of using mud to block their nest as a mason bee does, they use a mixture of natural debris that has the appearance of someone having attempted to jam a bunch of junk in your bee tubes. Rest assured it's just one of these wonderful wild pollinators. #bees#native#wild#masonbees#photooftheday#canonmacro#wildbee#beeconservation#conservation#pollinator
A small resin bee, Heriades spp., visiting a thistle. These tiny bees will use tubes and small holes in wood for nesting and can often nest in great aggregations, making them fun to watch. I use layered boards with 1/8 - 3/16" holes routes into them. #bees#pollinators#resinbee#photooftheday#thistle
Look closely - this is a picture of a honeybee! Sometimes when I'm taking a picture of a bee various other creatures will visit. Pictured is a honeybee feeding from a hummingbird feeder while a broad-billed hummingbird approaches. #bees#hummingbirds#birdfeeder#honeybees#photooftheday
The mint family of plants has no shortage of stunning flowers, but the most intriguing in my opinion is lemon mint, Monarda citriodora. Many bees would agree with me, such as this male fuzzy-horned bumblebee getting a fine nectar fill up from its numerous pink blossoms. This plant smells neither minty or lemony, so it's common name is a bit strange. No matter the name, it makes a stunning addition to any pollinator garden. #bees#macrophotography#bumblebee#lemonmint#beautifulmacro#colorful#beebalm#photooftheday