From the Family Megachilidae

Megachilidae – unsure of genus/species – on a Sempervivum bud

I’m not much of a taxonomist yet. Just a guy with some cameras. But I suspect I’ll get better with that over time. This one is some kind of Megachilidae for sure – unsure of genus/species. I’m pretty certain this little one is female (check out her left rear-most leg and notice the corbiculae – the pollen basket. Males don’t have those.). She’s on a Sempervivum (commonly known as Hens and Chicks) bud. Yep, the semps bloom. And they can be beautiful.

This particular bee is really territorial – downright ornery. I cannot count the number of times I’ve been lining up a shot of one bee or another on some blossom and one of these guys has bombed, full speed, into my intended subject. And not to be indelicate (cover the kids’ eyes, please), but the males of this species are, um, pretty adept at non-consensual birds-and-bees stuff – both on an intra- and inter-species level.

Kevin Vaughn has written a very worthwhile book on Hens and Chicks. It’s really accessible and is a good, instructive read if you’re interested in these amazing plants: Sempervivum: A Gardener’s Perspective of the Not-So-Humble Hens-and-Chicks (That’s an amazon link, but any bookseller can order it for you.) They’re really neat little plants and over time you’ll see a number of them in my photographs here.

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Bonus!

Monarch on a Rocky Mountain or Meadow Blazing Star (Liatris ligulistylis)

This site is about bees. But now and then, I’ll post a bonus pic of something else interesting. And today, it’s a Monarch on a Liatris.

It’s a fantastic plant for attracting pollinators of all kinds. Here in the Rockies, it blooms like mad all through August and is often teeming – buzzing – flapping – with life. Interestingly, the pollen isn’t purple, but it’s white. Sometime in the future, I’ll post pics of native bees, honeybees, bumbles, pollinating wasps, as well as other butterflies enjoying the Liatris. Keep watching. And plant one for yourself!

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