Last summer, as I walked up my gravel driveway to get the mail I noticed a flurry of activity around several very tiny holes on the hard-packed, clay embankment. I had seen the holes before, but assumed that they belonged to ants. In fact, I had photographed several Big-headed Ants (Pheidole sp) in the same spot during the summer before. However, to my delight, after close inspection, I noticed that the insects that I had noticed were actually Lasioglossum sweat bees.

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…

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 in the summer of 2013 in Highlands, NC when I was first kicking around the idea of this project.  I photographed this male A. cornelli just this past week (April, 2014) in Pickens, South Carolina as it visited a Pinxter Azalea.