It is often difficult for viewers to appreciate the time and energy that goes into making a seemingly simple natural history photograph. For the past two years I have been photographing the lives of Lasioglossum sweat bees that have been nesting on my driveway. These tiny bees, which are smaller than a grain of rice, are often bombarded by a variety of predators and parasites. This past May, A Beewolf (Philanthus gibbosus) (one of many in time) moved into the nesting aggregation and began to take prey. I…

We are all familiar with Bumble Bees, but did you realize that some Bombus species are actually nest parasites of other Bumble Bees? This rather disheveled looking bee is the Lemon Cuckoo Bumble Bee (Bombus (Psithyrus) citrinus) (a male), which is a parasite of the Common Eastern Bumble Bee (Bombus impatiens) and the Half-black Bumble Bee (Bombus vagans). After sneaking her way into the host colony, a female Lemon Cuckoo Bumble Bee dispatches the queen and takes control of the nest’s workers who soon begin to feed her…

My family and I live in a cabin of sorts. It is situated in a lovely little patch of woods, which is home to a wonderful variety of wildlife. One of the first things you learn when moving to the country is that there isn’t much of a boundary between your walls and the boundaries of the creatures living just beyond them. Sometimes those boundaries are shared. When we first moved out into the country just over eight years ago now, I was a somewhat surprised (for some…

Andrena cornelli, © Clay Bolt / www.claybolt.com

Andrena cornelli is a beautiful, finely structured mining bee that is associated with Rhododendrons in eastern North America. This is also one of the first species that I photographed last summer when I was first kicking around the idea of this project. If you’re just becoming interested in bees, certain clues, such as food sources, flight times (either season or time of day) and other characteristics can really be useful when trying to get a general idea of a species’ identity. In the case of this species, one…

My multi-year project celebrating North America’s native bees is officially underway! I spent the last few days photographing species found in and around Chattanooga, Tennessee including this incredibly cute Long-horned Bee (Eucera species…possibly E. atriventris or E. dubitata). Species in this genus are important pollinators of sunflowers, alfalfa and other crops. Species in this genus are solitary, ground-nesting bees.