Backyard Pollinators

August 2018…

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In flight, I thought this was the largest bumble bee I’d ever seen. However, when “they” landed in the garden, what a surprise. Mating Yellow-faced Bumble Bees.

Enlight1524The Yellow-faced or Bombus vosnesenskii is native to the West Coast of North America from British Columbia to Baja California. Red salvia has been a popular attraction this summer.

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Ceratina are tiny to medium-sized, shiny and nearly hairless, black or light metallic (green or blue) bees. The species is common throughout North America.

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European Wool Carder Bee. This bee almost tricked me into thinking it was a hover fly. Like hover flies, they tend to hover around flowers; a behavior common in males while defending territory. Females shave fuzz of plant leaves with their mandibles. The fuzz is used to line nest cells. This is why the species is often dubbed “wool carder” bees.

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Halictus, commonly known as Sweat Bees, are important pollinators. All are generalists and gather pollen and nectar from a variety of wildflowers and crops. They are thought to be key pollinators of carrots, onions, and sunflowers.

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Summer wouldn’t be summer in Oregon without Woodland Skippers. These little beauties are just beginning to appear in the garden. The local ecology is perfect for Hesperlidae– canary grass to host caterpillars and plenty of flower nectar for butterflies.

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A Paper Wasp and Honey Bee wait in the background for this Gray Hairstreak butterfly to vacate a popular feeding spot. This lovely little butterfly, Strymon melinus, is widely dispersed in North America. Its bright red eyespots are thought to deter possible predators.

7 comments

  1. Lovely to see you back again and will be following your photographic quest with interest. The list of restrictions looks like a good way to hone in on skills. So enjoy your first topic and can relate to the subject matter and place. Guessing that all the photo ops are in your garden and probably range a few steps between the shrubs. I picture you having stilled your focus and waited patiently for the pollinators to come into your camera range. A pretty impressive array for a single shoot!

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    1. I am glad, too.. learned about the Wool Carder Bee from a friend about a week ago. All bees have fascinating habits, but the Wool Carder Bee is quite unique!

      Like

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