A Rare Opportunity to Meet Wallace’s Giant Bee in NYC


I just returned from a great week in New York City. Although I was in town for a commercial shoot, I also had plans to search for bees in the city too. As luck would have it, I did see some really extraordinary species, they just happened to be in the invertebrate collection at the American Museum of Natural History. Native bee expert Hollis Woodard kindly introduced me bee expert Eli Wyman (pictured) who generously spent an afternoon showing me some of his favorite species in the collection. My mind was blown when he produced one of the only known specimens of Wallace’s Giant Bee (Megachile pluto), which has only been encountered on two collecting trips: once 1858 by explorer Alfred Russel Wallace and then again in 1981 by entomologist Adam Messer. This bee, which makes its nests in active termite mounds on the Indonesian island of Bacan is thought to be the largest bee in the world. A huge thanks to Eli for also introducing me to renowned bee specialist Dr. Jerry Rozen. Dr. Rozen was also very generous with his time and I left the museum feeling both very inspired and also aware that I have a long way to go with my understanding of of bees.

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