Hi, I’m Clay Bolt. I’m a natural history photographer who has embarked on a multi-year adventure to tell the story North America’s native bees through words, images and video. North America is home to over 4,000 known species of native bees whose services are worth an estimated $3 billion dollars per year to the US economy in the agricultural sector alone. It’s time to celebrate their extraordinary beauty, their value to our world and the challenges that they face each day. We need bees!
This piece from the NY Times offers a real solid explanation for why wild, native bees and pollinators are so importance. It also addresses the idea of moving beyond monocultural farming, which is something that needs to be adopted on a wider scale for our benefit and for the benefit of native pollinators.
In nature, even death can be beautiful. Anyone who spends a lot of time looking for bees will also often find predatory species who wait patiently for prey to appear. In this case, a very tiny ambush bug (Phymata sp) has captured an equally tiny bee, Chelostoma philadelphi, that was visiting a mock orange blossom (Philadelphus sp). At times I find it difficult to stay on task when photographing a particular scene / subject because with nature, one good thing leads to another. It is all so fascinating! Thanks to John Ascher for the correct ID.
I was so happy to finally find a nice aggregation of ground-nesting leafcutter bees and it was fitting that I was able to do so on Mother’s Day since many mothers-to-be were hard at work provisioning their nests with carefully (and quickly) cut pieces of leaves to serve as linings for the developmental cells of their young. Project advisor John Ascher suggests Subgenus Megachiloides as the genus with potential species including rubi, integra, and integrella. I need to do a little digging of my own before I lean in one direction of the other. Some candidates include rubi, integra, and integrella.