Monday, 9 April 2012

...There are Blue, Red, and Green Bees.

I like bees. They don't really freak me out and I'm not afraid of a sting. But if I saw one of these bad boys coming at me I might run away. For some reason these coloured bees give me the creeps.

Not this one though.

The Blue Orchard Mason Bee (Osmia lignaria) is found in the northern range of the Rocky Mountains mainly in British Colombia. They are independent bees and aren't very social. They do nest together as it increases mating possibilities and defences, but each bee finds its own food and doesn't share. They pollinate by using their hairy bodies and are quite effective at it. They are very shy and easily scared. They rarely sting unless a serious threat is in front of them. They nest in holes in trees and the females make tubular nests where they lay their eggs. Each egg is separated by a bit of mud. They appear black (its a shiny, metallic blue) and are often mistaken for black flies. 

The Leonardo of the bee word.
Red bees (Osmia rufa) are very similar to the blue bee in how they forage, nest, and sting (except the male has no stinger). When laying eggs the male larvae are placed closer to the nest's opening so they emerge first. They are found in parts of the UK, Scandinavia, mainland Europe, and parts of the Middle East. These are not the same as the red bees found in Brooklyn, NY. Those bees have found a Maraschino Cherry factory. They feast on the red corn syrup used for marinating and tell all their friends back at the nest. Their honey has also started changing colour as well.
Not as angry as you'd think.
The Metallic Green Bee (Agapostemon texanus) is, again, like the other two bees listed above. I'm starting to wonder if the gene responsible for the colour change affects the behaviour as well. They are found throughout North America with most of their numbers in the Southern USA. They have been known to form a hive with a queen or two.
They like to recycle.
And that is what I learned today.

-About Stone Babies (odd...)

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