Saturday, July 28, 2012

metallic green bee

metallic green bee 
gathering nectar among 
pink mallus tassels

Metallic green bees are working the clump of pink mallus by our front door. Why are they so bright? A warning to predators? These native sweat bees, smaller than a honeybee, are also good pollinators. All the bees I see appear to be female, their entire body shiny dark green. The male also has a green head and thorax, but a black and yellow striped body. Today the females seem to be doing all the work.

The adults gather nectar and pollen to carry back to the nest, which may be burrows in dead wood or the ground. The female lays an egg on a ball of pollen in a cell which she also supplies with nectar. Pollen and nectar will feed the larva until they emerge as adults in the spring. 

There are some 45 species of Metallic Green Bee found in the Western hemisphere. It's a bit difficult to tell them apart, but I like to think that the gentle green bees gracing our garden are Agapostemon angelicus.

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