Many thanks to National Wildlife Magazine Senior Editor Laura Tangley for interviewing me for NWF’s blog on why I’ve been spending the past couple of years chasing native North American bees around like a madman. It’s always great to have an opportunity to talk about the philosophy behind the photos. The article, called “Sharing a Passion for Beautiful Bees” can be found here.

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…

This past spring I officially launched Beautiful Bees: a multi-year project focusing on North America’s native bees. It has been an incredibly rewarding experience so far and I’m only getting started. One species that I hope to draw special attention to is the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee (Bombus affinis). This is an insect that has declined 87% in the last 15 years due, at least in part, to an introduced Eurasian pathogen. This species is the perfect poster-child for many of the continent’s threatened species. Project partner, The Xerces Society, has…

This past September I paid a visit to Madison, Wisconsin where I was searching for the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee (Bombus affinis); a species that is in serious decline due to an introduced pathogen. I was fortunate to not only find the RPBB but also many other species that share the same habitat. One insect that really made an impression on me was this male Fuzzy-legged Leafcutter Bee (Megachile melanophaea). Most bees are more interested in escaping once I’ve netted them for photography. However this impressive creature stood…

In case you’re interested in following the project in other places I recently released two pieces: One with some fun facts on North American native bees for Mother Nature News and another detailing some of the wonderful challenges of identifying North American Native Bees for National Geographic’s Voices Blog. Check them out if you have time! And if you’re interested in older posts visit the “In the News” page.

This past September I paid a visit to Madison, Wisconsin where I was searching for the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee (Bombus affinis); a species that is in serious decline due to an introduced pathogen. I was fortunate to not only find the RPBB but also many other species that share the same habitat. One insect that really made an impression on me was this male Fuzzy-legged Leafcutter Bee (Megachile melanophaea). Most bees are more interested in escaping once I’ve netted them for photography. However this impressive creature stood…

Where has the summer gone? One of the frustrations of being an insect photographer is the inevitable end-of-season blues, when the cooler temperatures blow in and remove almost all traces of your favorite subject matter. Although we still have some time left for summer here in South Carolina, the first signs of the season’s wind down have begun. The katydids are quieting down at night and the field crickets have begun to hint at their end of season song. I no longer hear the frogs singing in the…

A trip into the world of bees offers a glimpse into the extraordinary. Each day, from the flowers that you pass on your way into the office, to the fields, forests and bare patches of earth, life and death struggles for survival are taking place, the outcomes of which will ultimately affect our own lives. Take notice and take care of bees. Spray less. Mow less. Provide a little shelter. That would be a great start. Pictured: Metallic Green Bee (Augochlorella sp) on Bee Balm (Monarda didyma).

A Small Carpenter Bee (Ceratina sp), South Carolina © Clay Bolt / www.claybolt.com

Most homeowners in North America are familiar with Carpenter Bees. In the eastern US, where I live, Xylocopa virginica, the Eastern Carpenter Bee is often mistaken for a Bumble Bee that has a naughty habit –from the human perspective– of drilling (or chewing, to be accurate) its way into wood. It goes without saying that this isn’t the most popular species of insect. However, despite their choice of inconvenient nesting sites, Carpenter Bees in the genus Xylocopa are in fact important pollinators.

Most homeowners in North America are familiar with Carpenter Bees. In the eastern US, where I live, Xylocopa virginica, the Eastern Carpenter Bee is often mistaken for a Bumble Bee that has a naughty habit –from the human perspective– of drilling (or chewing, to be accurate) its way into wood. It goes without saying that this isn’t the most popular species of insect. However, despite their choice of inconvenient nesting sites, Carpenter Bees in the genus Xylocopa are in fact important pollinators.