The Prickly Pears are flowering now and one type of native bee (seen below) is having a field day with these blooms. Not only are the flowers rather large, but they are chock full of pollen. These bees literally roll around in the stuff until they are completely covered in yellow pollen.
Tag Archives: native bees
After my last post about native bees, I decided to see if I could photograph some in my garden. Today started out sunny, and there were tons of insects flying around the Carolina Jessamine which is a native vine currently blooming here in Austin.
I managed to get this picture, and it took me awhile to identify this little guy. I’m pretty sure this is a Green Orchid Bee.
I first thought it was a fly of some kind, but Google images supports my theory. I’m open to suggestions if folks think it is something else entirely.
I also managed to get a few decent shots of honey bees taking advantage of the warmer weather. Here is a honey bee with full pollen sacs.
And here is a nice bee butt shot as she is chowing down on some sweet nectar.
While I am very excited about starting my honeybee colony, I would be remiss if I didn’t have at least one post on native bees here in Austin. There are hundreds of varieties of native bees in our area that each do their part in pollinating plants.
There has been a lot of emphasis on Colony Collapse Disorder affecting honey bees and their ability to pollinate commercial crops, but the real story should be how the use of chemicals and pesticides have killed a lot of the native pollinators which used to do the heavy lifting. The honey bee was not native to the United States until it was introduced from Europe so it was humans who helped create this dependency on honey bees to pollinate a lot of our food crops.
I am by no means an expert on native bees, but Texas Bee Watchers is an excellent site to learn a bit more about our native friends. It even has good links on creating a Nest Box to attract solitary bees to your garden. I also found their list of bee friendly plants to be very informative, and if you take a look, a lot of the plants are native and/or adapted plants suitable to the Texas climate. You won’t see a lot of bees on the “six packs of color” you find in your big box nurseries.