Sunday, July 9, 2023

Gumweed Palooza!



It's that glorious time of the year when the gumweed is blooming in Vancouver Island. Who's hiding in the sticky stamens?


Here's a blue-eyed beauty with exceptionally furry pollen pants: Ms. Melissodes microsticta! She's just taking a breather in between trips to drink her nectar powerade and collect pollen to provision her nest in the ground.

She deserves a break!


And in a flower nearby, her long-horned male counterpart is chillin' too. 


He's doing a bit of grooming on his long antennae to look good for the ladies.


And while he's sipping nectar, the female gets right back to work.



 Meanwhile, back in the boudoir, the Dianthidium subparvum are makin' baby bees. These lovely black and white resin bees use the pollen and nectar from gumweed as food, and the resin as nesting material.

After mating, this female goes right back to work. Note the pollen on her hairy belly.



 The males like to perch in the grass on leaves and stems.

Mr. pebble bee is ready for his closeup.


There were a couple of other critters hanging around the gumweed patch, including this tiny shiny fly.


Sand wasps (Bembix spp.) also nest in the sand around the gumweed. Take the time to do your own gumweed bee safari and bee sure to post your findings on iNaturalist! These photos were taken in Victoria on the shore of the Gorge near the Craigflower Schoolhouse. If you are in Victoria on July 11-13, consider joining in the Uplands Park Insect Bioblitz. It's gonna bee a blast! Hope to see you there.

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