Advice to find spring, specialist, or rare bees

Ah, yes. One of my first experiences with bees was Megachile sculpturalis in a bee hotel. Bee hotels are important for engaging the public in bee studies and conservation.


Nice work!

Sam Droege shares a monthly list of things to look for/hosts to check both on FB and in the bee monitoring listserv.

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I was thrilled to find a small valley at a local land trust preserve near Bloomington, Indiana the other day that was absolutely loaded with flowering spring ephemerals and associated bees. I was going to that area with herps and birds on the mind, so neglected to bring a net which was a huge mistake.

Mining bees were everywhere, and there appeared to be a few species in the subgenus Melandrena present. Many andrena were also visiting the Virginia Spring Beauty flowers, which were by far the most common flower in the area, the one I photographed appears to be A. erigeniae, and there were likely many more around. Flowers blooming in the area included rue anemone, dutchman’s breeches, virginia spring beauty, bloodroot, yellow trout lily, sharp-lobed hepatica, and cut-leaved toothwort. Looking forward to revisiting that site with a net and macro lens soon!


Good suggestion, his guides and advice seem to keep coming up. Do you happen to have the links to those to share here?

Willow is one of the earliest trees to flower and is a good thing to look for spring bees on, especially specialists.


The very tiny little bit of woods I take care of has some native maples mixed in, along with beech and a few other large trees, but is mostly oaks.

Still - we have all 3 of the wildflower species you mention so maybe the others that are most successful alongside them will work out too:

white trilliums (Trillium grandiflorum), bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), Canadian/wild ginger (Asarum canadense), jack-in-the-pulpits (Arisaema triphyllum). Also have had a few plants of Thalictrum polygamum or tall medow-rue just volunteer and show up. The ones we put large branches over strategically to prevent deer from favoring them come back year after year. Maybe too much deer munching on them ends up being part of your spreading problem? Setting some deterrent, many-twig branches up at key flowering points around a few of your plants can help with that, and leaving something else they like to eat growing elsewhere.

And from one eastern redbud tree, we have many, many seedlings every year. They do alright in spots where a larger tree died & made a small clearing.

Chokecherry trees do ok too as a short shrubby tree under/near the bigger trees. Many get black knot, but they seem to survive it well here at least. Maybe because it is a native plant parasite fungus and have evolved with it for a while.

Prickly ash does GREAT. All over the place. Zanthoxylum americanum. And it is a shorter/shrubbier tree with flowers. Sweet-orange smelling leaves.

Then again, here the virginia waterleaf and bluebells are very prolific as well, and spread. So it may be very site dependent. There’s so many factors, from lots to do with soil to mycorrhizial fungi to water, wind/windbreaks…

Around me parks with nature centers have been having native plant sales right now & on through May so that could be a good place to ask if you hear of any going on near you.


On a recent trip to the Florida Keys, we found a population of the uncommon Centris errans: They seem to only nest in slightly moist, pure sand. Is there such thing as a nesting habitat specialist?

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Interesting. Yes, there can be. Some crabronid wasps and the bee Lasioglossum vierecki are sand endemic species.

I don’t know how Centris errans nests yet, but for foraging it may be a specialist of Brysonima lucida. This article has more info. and discusses 2 additional Florida Centris species.

I keep trying to get some Wild Ginger, but they were out last couple of times that I tried. I am intrigued by Jack-in-the-Pulpit, I wanted to try those when I was first adding things, but people told me that they weren’t easy to get started so I didn’t bother, I may reconsider. Two others that I’d like to try are Spring Beauty and Dutchman’s Breeches. I don’t think deer are an issue, I’ve never found scat, and my neighborhood has a lot of fences. One out there that I just found out is a native are the Violets, I wouldn’t have thought something so prevalent would be a native, so I’ll have to check for Andrena violae.

Thanks! I have noticed that it forages mainly on Brysonima lucida, though also Bursera simaruba. I’ll check out that article today, thanks again!

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He posts them on facebook and beemonitoring listserv- no links other than signing up or following the pages.

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