Buffish mining bee aggregation

I found another mining bee aggregation! I’ve lost track of how many bee aggregations I’ve found this springs, which is a good place to be in, in my humble opinion. This is the largest aggregation I’ve seen in Ireland. It’s on a university campus in south Dublin, and again people walk past on both sides without noticing the hundreds of mining bees flying around. I think the cuckoo bee here is Nomada goodeniana, and the bulk of the aggregation is Andrena nigroaenea (the buffish mining bee). However, I did see some ashy mining bees too, so it’s a multispecies aggregation.

Andrena nigroaenea
Mid flight photo
Andrena nigroaenea
You can see how many bees there are!
Andrena nigroaenea
Zzzzooooom
Nomada goodeniana
I think the cuckoo bee is Nomada goodeniana (it has this frowny face on the back of the scutellum)
Andrena nigroaenea
These mining bees are honeybee sized…I suspect the bright orange pollen is the horse chestnut
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Mid-flight confrontation between the cuckoo bee and mining bees, you can also see the size difference
Nomada goodeniana
Nomada goodeniana
They’re cute though!
Andrena nigroaenea
Not as cute as the mining bees, maybe
Nomada goodeniana
Harrumph! Well, tell us how you really feel!
Andrena nigroaenea
High nest density
Andrena nigroaenea
Andrena nigroaenea
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The only blurry evidence I have that the ashy mining bees were also present

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Random thoughts and photos during field work

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I keep having this dream lately where I’m under water and I swim up to the surface to get air. When I get above the surface, there’s a rocky outcropping nearby and there are big, choppy waves. Every single time, I think “this is the ocean, it should taste salty, but it tastes fresh…I must be dreaming.” Then I wake up. What do you make of that?
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I was out on a run the other day after a long, exhausting day of field work…I’ve been working long days seven days a week lately trying to keep up with my work. I was so tired on this run, and the path was choppy and broken up and I tripped at full speed. As soon as I tripped, I knew I couldn’t save it…I had a horrible long gasp, then I shouted a bad word mid-air and totally supermanned it. I skinned one forearm (protecting my face) and one knee (very bloody), plus I bruised the top of my other knee and one rib and one hip. I hit the ground so hard, and I don’t know why. When I’m totally honest, the part of the path I tripped on wasn’t even that rough…I was just too tired to pay attention. The point of all this is that I’m always super impressed by the bright pink skin that my body makes under a new scab when it starts peeling off. Good work, body. My running tights, on the other hand, have not healed yet.
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I have to lock up my watering cans with bike locks at all my field sites because people steal everything in Dublin. But they starting stealing the nozzles off the end of the watering cans. What are they going to do with those?!?!?!
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The night after the Santa Fe shooting, I couldn’t sleep. I’m teaching a course at an American university next year. What would I do if there was a shooter on campus? How could I protect my students? What about those teachers that tried to protect their students and died in the process? I’m no warrior…I’m a nerdy scientist who likes bees. (Even though one time I did defend my students with nothing more than a plastic butterfly net against a giant turkey.) How can I possibly hope to keep my students safe against an armed psychopath? I lay awake all night with these thoughts spinning around in my mind.
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I wish humans were as logical as bees.

Photos for World Bee Day!

Every day is world bee day on StandingOutInMyField, but today it’s world bee day for everyone! Here are some of my favourite photos of bees I’ve taken around the world. Huzzah! Bees are the greatest!

Cleptoparasitic bees
Cleptoparasitic bees
Dublin, Ireland
Cleptoparasitic bees
Pennsylvania
Cleptoparasitic bees
Pennsylvania
Cleptoparasitic bees
Pennsylvania
Cleptoparasitic bees
New York

Shiny Green Sweat Bees
Shiny Green Sweat Bees
Pennsylvania
Shiny Green Sweat Bees
Pennsylvania
Shiny Green Sweat Bees
Pennsylvania
Shiny Green Sweat Bees
Pennsylvania
Shiny Green Sweat Bees
Pennsylvania
Shiny Green Sweat Bees
Pennsylvania
Shiny Green Sweat Bees
New York
Shiny Green Sweat Bees
Arizona
IMG_3932
New York

Megachilid bees
Anthidium manicatum
Pennsylvania
Anthidellum
New York
Megachile
Pennsylvania
Megachile
Pennsylvania
Megachile
Pennsylvania
Megachile
Pennsylvania
Megachile
Arizona

Mason bees (in the Megachilids)
Osmia.bucephala
Pennsylvania
Osmia bucephala
New York
Osmia cornifrons
New York
Osmia cornifrons
New York
Osmia cornifrons
New York
Osmia cornifrons
Pennsylvania
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Pennsylvania

Tiny Sweat Bees
Little sweat bees
Dublin, Ireland
Little sweat bees
Pennsylvania
Little sweat bees
Pennsylvania
Little sweat bees
Pennsylvania
Little sweat bees
Pennsylvania

Long-horned bees
Melissodes
Pennsylvania
Melissodes
Arizona

Mining Bees
Mining bees
Pennsylvania
Mining bees
Dublin, Ireland
Mining bees
New York
Mining bees
New York
Mining bees
New York

Cellophane bees
Colletes.inaequalis
New York

Squash Bees
Squash bee
New York

Australian Bees
Some Australian bees
Blue banded bee (Brisbane)
Some Australian bees
Some Australian bees
Some Australian bees

Costa Rican bees
Costa Rican bee

Social Stingless Bees
Social stingless bees
Australia
Social stingless bees
Costa Rica
Social stingless bees
Costa Rica
Social stingless bees
Costa Rica
Social stingless bees
Kenya

Orchid Bees
Costa Rican orchid bees
Costa Rica
Costa Rican orchid bees
Costa Rican orchid bees
Costa Rican orchid bees

Last but not least, our humble honeybee
Honeybee

Links to share

I have to share this incredibly interesting thought experiment on what the “perfect” human would be, given our current understanding of human genetics (and making some pretty big assumptions, but I challenge you to do better!). Relevant to people who think there is such a thing as a “pure” genetic line: The perfect human is Puerto Rican

Why is there a Lyme vaccine for your dog but not for you? Anti-vax hysteria made the Lyme vaccine inaccessible to many people in high risk areas: The incredibly frustrating reason there’s no Lyme disease vaccine

A very interesting eco-evolutionary trap…butterflies evolved to use an invasive plant, but became too dependent on it, and when land management changed the butterflies went (locally) extinct: Lethal trap created by adaptive evolutionary response to an exotic resource

Just a reminder that there may be life on Europa! Will we ever find out? Probably not in my lifetime: Icy Moon Of Jupiter Spews Water Plumes Into Space

How many flowers do we really need to support bees? More! Ken Thompson: how much pollen does it take to raise a bee?

Plant of the week! This crazy bellflower with red nectar, which it uses to signal lizard pollinators: Nesocodon mauritianus

St. Venus’s prayer: God grant me the courage to eat the bugs that give me nitrogen, the serenity to release those that pollinate me, and the wisdom to put my flowers high above my trap: Venus flytraps know not to eat the insects that pollinate them

Long time readers of this blog will know how I love to go on about blue pigments in nature. For some reason, this is a topic I keep coming back to! Discovery Of 1st New Blue Pigment In 200 Years Leads To Quest For Elusive Red

The Farm Bill just failed to pass in the House…here’s a reminder of why that bill is so important: What the 2018 farm bill means for urban, suburban and rural America

Star Wars insects!!! Imagined Insects Camouflaged as Star Wars Characters by Illustrator Richard Wilkinson

A beautiful chocolate mining bee

Chocolate mining bee
It took me a while (and some help on twitter) to figure out the species of this gorgeous bee that hung out with me for a while the other day, but I wanted to share some more photos of her because she just posed so nicely and is such a beautiful bee.
Chocolate mining bee
After she had absorbed some of my body heat for a while, I put her onto a flower. She hesitated for a moment, then dove in, drinking nectar and generally getting absolutely covered in pollen. This is the bee version of plastered, I think. I’m still totally in love with this bee!
Chocolate mining bee
From a distance she looks not unlike a honeybee
Chocolate mining bee
She loves this ramson flower
Chocolate mining bee
Chocolate mining bee
A pollinating pollinator
https://flic.kr/p/277zyPW
Chocolate mining bee
Chocolate mining bee
Tongue out!
Chocolate mining bee
Chocolate mining bee
Chocolate mining bee

Gorgeous ruby-tailed wasp

I was lucky enough to spot this beautiful specimen in the field yesterday, and even though I was in a hurry (as usual), I just HAD to stop and try to get a decent photo. (See Zoomology for a prize winning photo of this gorgeous species. Obviously, mine are not that good, but still…shiny!)

Ruby-tailed wasp
This is a ruby-tailed wasp…as far as I know it’s Chrysis ignita, but correct me if you know better!
Ruby-tailed wasp
You know I love chrysidid wasps…the cuckoo wasps.
Ruby-tailed wasp
What a chrysis!!
Ruby-tailed wasp

Not too shabby for a frantic field biologist, eh?