I want to find out what native bees we have in the area, but a lot of them are very fast, and land infrequently if ever. I’m getting decent at photographing them in situ when they do land on a flower, but that doesn’t work so well for the super zippy ones that only land for half a second, or won’t land at all in the current spot.
What’s my best bet? A small, fine-meshed net and a clear container to temporarily transfer them into? A ziploc bag as a net?
Once I’ve caught them, how can I get them to sit still? I know chilling is an option, but I’d prefer to just hold them for a couple minutes and let them go, with minimal disturbance. Are there any foods I can bring that bees are interested enough to want while captured? For that matter, are there any foods that near-guarantee a bee will land and drink for awhile instead of moving constantly? I was thinking maybe a nice juicy orange slice. Bees like oranges, I assume.
I’ve caught a few bees with my net, then put a clear container over them and slid the lid under the container. It seems to work fairly well in terms of not scaring them too badly. I released a longhorn bee and it flew straight to a flower 3 feet away and went back to feeding, even though it had been buzzing rapidly around the inside of the cup. I’m guessing the net and cup reads more as “trapped by inconvenient scenery” than “caught by predator”, since I’d imagine a bee that I’d had in my hands would be much more inclined to leave fast.