Sunflower and Bee

Sunflower and BIG Bee

Sunflower and BIG Bee

Update from Baldo Villegas, regarding identification:

this is not a carpenter bee. This is an anthophorid bee. This group of bees are famous for pollinating sunflowers. The males have longer antennae than the females and this is usually how I recognize them right away. Unfortunately, I can’t see the antennae from the picture so my guess is that it is a female.

I’ll be working to get a better image showing the antennae!
Thank you, Baldo!

Sunflower and big bee, and a beautiful blue New Mexico sky! I was out photographing goldfinches playing on the spent sunflowers and cosmos, enjoying the seeds and showing it. This time of year I see a lot of pollinators on most of the flowers in the yards, buzzing around, very busily. Sometimes I specifically photograph them. But, this particular day I was focusing on the goldfinches.

As I sat on my porch enjoying a quiet afternoon, I saw what, at least from a distance, appeared to be a HUGE bee. I’m used to the black and yellow “bumble bees,” and the smaller brown and yellow bees. But this had the appearance of a brown and yellow bee, but very large, and spending a lot of time working a sunflower. Finally, I had to investigate more closely, even though I knew the birds would fly, at least for a bit.

Sunflower and Big Bee

Sunflower and Large Bee

Sunflower and Big Bee

Sunflower and Large Bee

As you can see, this was, indeed, a very large bee. And, it had been very busy! It was covered with pollen it had collected from the sunflower. I think it may be a male carpenter bee, although I need to check this identification.

Under any circumstances, it was a new bee for me, and certainly caught my eye even though I thought I would focus on birds that particular day.


2016 Pollinator Week

2016 Pollinator Week, June 20-26

2016 Pollinator Week is recognized around the world. Its purpose is to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators to all living things, whether directly or indirectly, and to encourage planting beneficial to a wide range of pollinators.

2016 pollinator week

Some Native Bees

More information on each of the bees in this image can be found here. More information on pollinators in general and 2016 Pollinator Week can be found at Pollinator Partnership.

Here are just a few of the images I have taken of pollinators over the years. The blue osmia is a little over-represented here, because I only see one day a year, late March or early April. But they are so different and so beautiful, I want you to see them. I stopped spraying my roses and using systemics some years ago, and have seen a marked increase in the pollinators in my yard. I love sunflowers and cosmos for their beauty, ease of care, and the way they attract pollinators ranging from bees through butterflies to hummingbirds. My next-door neighbors are evolutionary biologists who do totally organic gardening, so we have a tiny oasis for pollinators.