10 de julio de 2023

European Paper Wasp on Tansy Ragwort

I'm feeling a bit frustrated. I'm much less interested in the taxonomic identification of the players in the game than I am in the ecological question of what is going on in the image. I'm feeling like the site should be named iTaxonimist instead of iNaturalist right now.

What I'm seeing is European Paper Wasp a known meat hunter running a convoy to a plant that is poisonous to it where the only other insect there is probably more poisonous than the plant it is feeding on. I have trouble believing the wasp is collecting the poisonous plant directly as building material and wonder if the moth larve is preprocessing the plant material producing a relatively poison free cellulose building material that is safe for use by the wasp. A Naturalists sort of question and don't even get a friendly "I don't Know" or a "That's interesting can you help gather more information? I need to see this..."

Publicado el 10 de julio de 2023 19:36 por little_mousie little_mousie | 1 observación | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

16 de julio de 2022

Parasitic Wasp

When ever I hear or read about parasitic wasps they talk about the wasp stinging the victim and carrying it back to their nest where they lay an egg on it. I won't say they are wrong or any thing but it seems that there are other answers available.

For the past few days I've been watching a wasp out of the corner of my eye as I was making my nest recordings. It looks like she starts digging up a nest hole to catch a bee but then gives up early and moves on only to repeat the process again and again. Today when I was setting up my camera I was close enough to see the answer. The wasp is egging the bees nest. What looked like digging was knocking the egg down the bee hole mixed in with some dirt.

Much less work than catching and dragging victims home to the kids.

Here is the video

If you read the description you can drag the progress bar to the segment you want to see. The first time listed on a line marks where the activity starts and the second when the subject leaves the field of view

Publicado el 16 de julio de 2022 01:08 por little_mousie little_mousie | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

14 de julio de 2022

Eusocial Furrow Bees

There has been a good bit of agricultural disturbance in both of the large bee aggregation sites here in the housing development. The lower Hay field got mowed last week. I went down to look around to see if there is any new bee activity since the mowing but found none. It may sound crazy that I looked and commented but up here among the houses there is new nesting activity in areas scraped by the grader blade and or front loader bucket in less than a week after the equipment is done.

Yesterday I went out to where the closer and largest bee aggregation is to find out who was building new nests now. The landscape crew put in a new planting next to the road disturbing the ground where the bees nest. I'm fascinated by both how soon after the disturbance the bees move into the disturbed areas and the succession of species living next door to each other in the same ground. As the April Andrena were finishing the last of their brood cells the June Andrena a much smaller species was moving into abandoned but open nest holes formerly used by the April Andrena as well as excavating new holes of their own.

Ref: https://youtu.be/UI_AtzngE1o
Drag the progress bar to the 8 minute mark and hit play You will see Little Bee poking its head out briefly as Big Bee begins coming out of her nest. Both Bees are different species of Andrena

Now we have Eusocial Furrow Bees nesting in the same ground the other two species were in earlier. This video is much longer. 30 minutes is the size limit set by my camera and I posted the hole thing. I'm still working on the log of arrivals, departures and bee heads peeking out of the hole from each off the 3 nests in the image, the log is in the bottom link. I'm using the log to try and figure out the minimum number of bees living in each hole.



@beespeaker @wenatcheeb @augustjackson

Publicado el 14 de julio de 2022 17:53 por little_mousie little_mousie | 5 comentarios | Deja un comentario

8 de julio de 2022

Unintended Consequences

Ever since I recorded Priocnemis oregona going down the bee hole and @beespeaker asked about how big was it, I've been thinking about putting a scale in the shot when I record Video to help constrain the size of the subject in the image. This afternoon I noticed a sweet little Furrow Bee smiling up at me from her front porch, getting ready to go for a fly about. I decided to have a go at measuring the bee in the video.


Watch around the 4cm mark for the antenna to start wiggling.

I read allot of diverse topics. Memory maps and "Bug Vision" both fascinate me. Some time last week +/- I read:

Object Recognition in Flight: How Do Bees Distinguish between 3D Shapes?

It had not occurred to me that I might be setting up a demonstration of the concepts in the document. Watch how the bee's first order of business is making a 3D memory map of my ruler.

Publicado el 8 de julio de 2022 01:03 por little_mousie little_mousie | 1 observación | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

20 de junio de 2022

Priocnemis oregona

This is a spider hunting wasp that specializes in burrowing spiders like the trap door spider. It is hunting within an Andrena Bee nesting aggregation that covers roughly 4 acres of land. It enters the scene from the top of the frame about 1/4 of the way in from the right hand corner, travels in a roundabout fashion to the top Andrena nest hole and dives in looking for a spider. I don't know what happened down there, but it looks like the Wasp is struggling to escape. When it does it runs around a bit and looks in another Bee hole. this time it doesn't stay long and leaves the frame under the cover of grass.


@wenatcheeb @beespeaker @la4bonte @bobmcd @arachnologus

Publicado el 20 de junio de 2022 04:19 por little_mousie little_mousie | 3 observaciones | 3 comentarios | Deja un comentario

17 de junio de 2022

Little Bee in an Andrena Nest

Little Bee does not appear to be parasitic in the nest she has moved into. She was recorded Returning to the nest at least six times from forage for pollen yesterday. I missed at least one return trip to the nest due to rain and maybe one for an unusually long camera battery change. Needed a fresh one from the charger at home.

I changed my camera angle in part because I don't leave behind Tripod targets for next day set up though I should think about making 1 or 2, and in part to better show the difference in size of the bee that lives in the hole now compared to the Andrena that probably dug the nest originally This was a very busy nest site yesterday with a few spiders, a spider hunting wasp and a 2nd Andrena not from the nest shown in my last blog post.


Publicado el 17 de junio de 2022 17:49 por little_mousie little_mousie | 1 observación | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

14 de junio de 2022

Bee Neighbors

I recorded 2 very different sized Andrena in side by side holes today. The first bee to show its self was very small compared to the bee on its right. The small bee is harder to see, it doesn't stay out of its hole long it could be a Furrow Bee, or both could have been Andrena. Can there be that much size difference in a single species of Andrena or have I caught 2 different species of Andrena or two different geniuses of bees living side by side in the same aggregation? After the bee on the left completes its first appearance, hit pause and drag the progress bar to the 8 minute mark and continue watching. Little Bee will poke its face out again then Big Bee will start coming out. It will dance around a little then do some grass acrobatics before flying off.


@wenatcheeb @beespeaker @augustjackson

Publicado el 14 de junio de 2022 20:26 por little_mousie little_mousie | 4 comentarios | Deja un comentario

12 de junio de 2022

Guard House - Bedroom

I've been making video's of Andrena working on their nests, coming and going to forage etc.... I've been seeing something that looks like a "Mothers room" near the entrance to the nest. This nest belongs to a mid season Andrena Species and rain has washed away the loose dirt covering the nest structures. At the top of the shaft she builds a right angle entrance to the shaft and I think the bulb in the structure near the opening is mom's "guard shack" / bedroom where she stands guard when not working down with the brood to exclude predators and parasites. Does any one Know if I'm right?

@wenatcheeb @beespeaker @eebee @augustjackson

Earth Moving Bee

This next clip is a continuation of nest work from "Earth Moving Bee"
Bee excavating nest & building nest entrance

This next clip is a vertical shaft style nest. When I recorded it I thought she was obtaining material for the closure from inside the shaft, but I've seen other bees taking refuge in an upper chamber of the nest.

Bee Butts

Publicado el 12 de junio de 2022 17:07 por little_mousie little_mousie | 1 observación | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

11 de junio de 2022

Finding Answers

In my first past here I was looking at an Andrena aggregation out on top of the grass waiting for the sun to come out from behind the clouds and warm their flight muscles enough to fly and have their breeding swarm. It really perplexed me at the time.

I went back to the aggregation as the Daisies were just starting to open. Every open flower had a crab spider and I wondered if they were getting a push towards a grass preference. But that really only lasted a few days and then enough daisies were open to resolve the threat.

Now it is a jungle out there. The bees have to climb in and climb out. The bees also seem to like landing to check out the nest, flying off and looking some more and then landing again before going down the hole. You can see that in both of these videos the first is down at the site photographed in the associated observation.


This 2nd clip is in the 2nd aggregation I found but the same behavior is there. It is also my poster child for the pollen load can change the appearance of a bee. The 2nd associated observation shows abdominal stripes recolored by pollen. This bee has a black abdomen with black hairs. the yellowish color is pollen.


Publicado el 11 de junio de 2022 00:11 por little_mousie little_mousie | 2 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

10 de junio de 2022

Turning a hole into a home.

Both of these videos are best at X2 speed. The Speed control is under the gear tool.

I sat and recorded an hour of new nest building behavior today. I think the bee is one of the recent Andrena that just started flying and foraging but I don't know for sure. Could be a Furrow Bees Genus Halictus, I'm the first to say I don't really know the bees. The bee never came out of the hole far enough to see. I started recording this nest 2 days ago in this video;


The nest entrance has now turned 90 Deg from vertical and opens to the east at the top of an east facing slope. Near the end of the video I place a penny next to the entrance to make it easier to find tomorrow or when ever the weather improves enough to go look again. I feel like seeing who comes out of the hole is the best way to know who lives in it.


The last picture in the set of screen caps associated with this entry is a look up hill at the nest site I'm recording in.

Publicado el 10 de junio de 2022 23:37 por little_mousie little_mousie | 1 observación | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario