Bee and wasp updates, notes, or goals for Spring 2022

My spring goals are:
Beat a friend to the first affinis queen of the year. She beat me two years in row.
Log a native Osmia in the yard.
Log a Colletes in the yard. For some reason I’ve yet to log any Colletidae in the yard.
Increase local interest in observing bees in the area.
Continue recording affinis in the area, we’re starting to get a good area map going.

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To find Colletes I’d start searching any day starting now or you may mostly miss finding them in summer, at least based on northeastern US climate. Some fly around ground nests even where there’s no visible flowers nearby, so look almost like flies or wasps from a distance.

Yeah I’ve got a couple of large aggregations in my search areas, just not in the yard. There’s one spot where you’ve got to watch where you walk, nest holes everywhere.

What’s kind of weird is I have logged a Cellophane Cuckoo in the yard, so I assume they’re around.

Interesting. My local area actually has no flowers yet, even including wildflowers. All I saw was Colletes nesting in soil/grass and a few flies so far.

My first Halictus tripartitus was yesterday and Andrena and Habropoda on Saturday. Only Colletes in my yard last year were pollinating wild ground cherries (Physalis).

I’m missing Eucera, Nomada, Anthophorula, Calliopsis, Neolarra, and Hesperapis to name a few easy ones. That would get me to 80 species :grinning: though it gets a lot harder after that without trapping for Perdita and Dialictus.

I have potentially 7 bees that would qualify, but only 3 are confirmed (*)…

Melissodes menuachus*, subagilis, and wheeleri
Diadasia afflicta
Pentaperdita*
Perdita chamaesarachae*
Megachile chilopsidis

…and 1 wasp unconfirmed.
Clypeadon dreisbachi

I’ll add the confirmed ones for now.

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I have some Andrena found dead (and some photographed alive) last year in Crimea, those that are tentativly ided are quite rare, but not sure how correct ids are, I tried to key out dead ones, with no success. The only other “rare” one is Pseudapis bispinosa which got some old observations uploaded last year, but colony I found was the third.

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The more any ID can be confirmed the better, such as by RG, multiple people making the ID, or expert ID. But it should also be fine to add observations where the ID is confident but tentative, since it will either be that species or a similar never before IDed one. And even if an ID ever needed to be corrected later, it would also just update the project ID at that time.

@egordon88 @marina_gorbunova Good to hear you and others found uncommonly observed species. I actually only had 2 to add, but hope to find more.

Is there any way to easily figure out which species I’ve observed are first observations?

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I’m unsure if there’s an easy way to scan through all your observations that way. But to check for individual species which you think might be first records, I search the species name in Explore, click on “list” on the left side of the page, and click on the observed column title twice so it shows the earliest observation first. I just tried this for Apis mellifera here. The first record is a photo from 1967. Using Explore is also a good way to find first records by any observers per taxon group. Another useful thing is to search a bee group like a bee family in Explore and click the Species tab. The species will be shown ordered by number of obs., which each also displays at the bottom of their icon. I then scroll to the bottom to see which species with only 1 observation each.

One thing I have found useful is to photograph active bees and wasps with a burst option or two if available, That way you are more likely to capture several angles so that you see more of the identifying features of the insect. Heather Holm has just published an amazing book on wasps, fascinating information on wasps in general but a tremendous resource for ID of wasps in eastern North America.
https://www.pollinatorsnativeplants.com/

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I know the thread is about bees; but in my investigations of Achlys japonica, I have been trying to find any definitive information as to whether it occurs in that region. There is a collection from more than 100 years ago in North Korea, very near the Chinese border, so I think that this is within the realm of possibility.

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I think closest to the border we will be is a Lotгs Lake, but there’re not many trees there, but forest is where we will live, so I will check there! It’s a nice looking plant. Actually, my husband says it’s welcomed to go to NK from here, which is kinda weird imo, but maybe some years from now, I’m personally afraid, not a place to get stuck in and I’m not sure how to go about language there, I know some iNatters visited it and I’m curious about their experience.

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I am REALLY excited for when the bees and wasps return. I joined iNat in October and have learnt so much about identifying species. I am more aware of the different organism in my area. And now that I own a camera, I get even better photos.

This year, I want to really get a feel for the variety of wasps that visit my backyard. We have two apple trees which always attract all sorts of insects. There are mostly German Yellowjackets, but once in while, a few Bald-faced Hornets arrive. I want to photograph them for the first time!

Wish me luck!

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Woohoo for wasp/bee goals! I just saw my first of season, a busy Andrena clarkella I think. European clarkella sure seem to have more orangish/reddish variation compared to what’s been seen in Alaska.

Not so much a species goal, but one of my goals this year is to become much more familiar with my newest guidebook: The Social Wasps of North America by iNat’r Chris Alice Kratzer / @humanbyweight. It’s awesome, references a ton of iNat users, and I’m looking forward to putting it in use!

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I just thought to create one final related project, New Bee and Wasp Locality Records. This project is for new species records among all sources (not only iNat) for countries, their major subregions which are larger than towns and counties (states, provinces, metropolises), and islands of any size. My basis for creating this project and the other recent one (Earliest iNat Bee and Wasp Records) is that observers/identifiers commonly make note of new records in obs. comments, so these are an easy way to also track them when they are noted to be new. Some obs. will be applicable to add to both projects.

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So far, I’ve seen two new yard bees and, other than Bombus, native bee populations look really good in my yard. I found this Halictus tripartitus nest accidentally and the Osmia was on my apple tree.


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Small milestone: this is my first sighting of Perdita chamaesarachae of the year (and best picture I ever got, if I can brag a little). Their host plant is found across the four corners states and into central Texas and Northern Mexico, but they are very infrequently collected/documented (except for my garden ha ha).

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The bee in my area are emerging once again, though I’m unable to ID to a species-level. Of the bees I’ve seen so far, this one has a bee my favourite. There was a whole bunch of them. They appear to live underground.


https://inaturalist.ca/observations/116151070

Link to all my bee observations here.

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I’m not sure what the category “updates” includes.