The crowd on the bee and butterfly bush

The butterfly bush is surrounded by the darting shadows of bees against the all-too-clear blue sky. Amid the heat wave, this and the coneflowers are the main source of nectar around here. The powdery lavender scent is drawing an amazing variety of bees and such.

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Last year, the butterfly bush was the domain of the Carpenter bees, but I haven’t seen more than a couple of these enormous versions of bumblebees with shiny black butts. Instead, a bee I’ve never seen before seems to be taking their place: the Giant Resin bee. It’s a big bee, longer than a honeybee. Its body is russet, its tail shiny black, and the wings have dark shadows on them. And it’s not a native! It comes from Asia. Like the Carpenter bee, it nests in cavities in wood. I really wonder if they’ve muscled in on last year’s Carpenter nest.

Two kinds of bumblebees are visiting, the Common Eastern Bumblebee, which seem to be outnumbered here by the Confusing Bumblebee.  Both are your classic fat fuzzy bumblebee, with yellow bodies and spots of yellow on fuzzy black tails. The Confusing one is a brighter yellow and they have an extra band of yellow spots on their tails.

A few honeybees are visiting, and one turned out to be another bee mimic, possibly a Drone Fly.

We can’t forget the Hummingbird moth.

And yes, there are butterflies. The indiscriminate Cabbage White flutters by, and a Red Admiral comes visiting fairly often.

Don’t ask me how many bees this is. I’ve lost count!

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About Pam Phillips

I am a writer and gardener. I never cease to be amazed by the wonder and beauty of bees.
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