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Nature

Bees that buzz and those that help the economy!

by JW. Dowey 23 Jun 2017
Bees that buzz and those that help the economy!

Carpenter bees are those big black bees that look more fearsome than they really are. This is the southern carpenter, Xylocopa micans, which is struggling in the US as its wood nesting sites are removed. Other wood-cutters carry interesting mites and show the first signs of social behaviour in the genus.Southern carpenter bee image; Credit: © Bob Petersen, Creative Commons License

On the Bees are Amazing site here there is an amazing variety of bees to interest those of us who appreciate their incredible contribution to pollination. However, the pest removal qualities of wasps and the parasitic activity of ichneumons are equally impressive. After our story on solitary bees in Britain, this US based site tries to give a worldwide picture.

For more on solitary bees, our recent article on the mining bee, Andrena cineraria is useful, but a whole variety of hymenoptera are related to the obvious honey bee. Watch for the difference from those totally harmless hover flies, the syrphids, though. They only have 2 wings.

The infographic here gives a quick ID for a large variety of wasps, hornets and bees, only neglecting the sawflies. For more detail the buzzaboutbees site offers a great deal on pollination and the whys and wherefores. The conclusion can only be that it’s better to live in the US than in Japan, as the giant wasp Vespa mandarinia’s sting can be fatal. Personally, I’d find it difficult to decide on that


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