skogsdjur asked: Hey, you dont happen to know... ^^ How does bees survive the winter, similar to butterflies? :)
I somehow missed this question, I apologize!
I’m not actually aware of specifically how butterflies overwinter, but I do know a thing or two about bees.
At some point in their lives, most insects go through what is called diapause. Diapause is a state of dormancy even more intense than hibernation or torpor. Development stops completely, and only very specific stimuli can reverse it (such as temperature warming, light cycles changing, how much moisture there is, etc).
Bees, as I’m sure is the case with other insects, vary greatly on how and when and in what developmental stage they diapause in. Bees have four options: egg, larvae, pupa, or adult. As far as I’m aware (which honestly doesn’t say much), not too much is known about how some solitary bees diapause, though I believe they usually diapause in their nests cavities.
In bumblebees, only the new, recently mated queens diapause underground as adults. The workers, males, and old queens all perish with the summer. Honeybees, on the other hand, are just weirdos. They don’t diapause at all. They are all awake in their hives all winter long. It’s beneficial in that they can take advantage of early/late warm spring/fall days to forage before/after other bees are in diapause, but disadvantageous in that it’s much harder for them to survive colder temperatures.
A newish concern is that of the possible shifting phenologies (timing of life events) of the pollination mutualism. Some flowers are blooming earlier and earlier in the spring as temperatures increase due to climate change. Some bees, however, come out of diapause almost solely based on light cues, which means they may emerge in the spring several weeks after their flower buddies have already bloomed, and basically everyone gets totally screwed.
Just found a couple bumblebees (Bombus huntii) doin’ it on the laundry hanging up in the back yard! Awwww yeeeeeah!
Saw this gorgeous Bombus huntii queen in town today! Too bad it’s now currently snowing… :(
Oh gosh, you guys, today was so great. It was a beeeeautiful day out! There were isolated storms around, but we never got hit. I am in such a good mood.
Photo 1: This is basically going to be my whole summer. This type of landscape isn’t for everyone, but I freaking love it (yes, that is snow on the tiny mountain in the background).
Photo 2:Phlox sp. (hopefully I can determine the species later), an early-blooming cushion plant.
Photo 3: Flowering barrel cactus, Pediocactus simpsonii. They were tiny and all over!
Photo 4: BEES! We caught bees! I was honestly a little shocked! These lovely ladies are Eucera, quite possibly E. fulvitarsis. We caught a couple males as well! I don’t have photos of the others, but we also caught two species of Andrena, an Anthophora male, and a Bombus huntiiqueen (we let her go). We got buzzed by two other Bombus queens, but they never came close enough to get an ID. I cannot even describe how much I’ve missed being around bees. Seriously grinning like crazy.
Photo 5: This is the North Platte River. It is HUGE and so so high (this is Wyoming, people, we don’t really have water here). We saw a bald eagle flying over right about here, as well as some ducks and another type of water bird (birds are noooot one of my strong points, sorry guys).
Photo 6: We found a nest tucked away behind/underneath some sagebrush! No idea what kind, though…
Photos 7 and 8: HOLY CRAP YOU GUYS, LOOK AT IT. LOOK HOW ADORABLE IT IS. Also, Zach, these are totally for you. I also know very little about herps, but there are like 30 total in Wyoming, and apparently only one species of horned lizard, the greater short-horned lizard, Phrynosoma hernandesi. Little guy was so angry, he was puffing out his sides to try to scare us with his little spikes. He was much happier when we put him back on the ground. And so tiny. And so so so cute. The bees and this gorgeous baby were definitely the highlights of the day.
Close! This is actually a tiny Lasioglossum (Dialictus). Ceratina have much broader heads and abdomens proportionately (my old boss called them “junk in the trunk bees”), making them a little more boxy looking. They are also usually not very fuzzy at all, even less so than this little lady. Most, but not all, have a yellow spot in the center of their cute little faces, but it can be difficult to see. Check out some of the Ceratina and Dialictus photos on the ever-amazing USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab’s Flickr.
I really recommend viewing these outside of the tumblr dashboard to get the full resolution.
Probably Halictus rubicundus. About how big was she?
About 3/4” at the most.
It doesn’t look like it here, but were her head and thorax metallic at all? If not, then I’m pretty confident with Halictus rubicundus. I love Halictus so much, they’re adorable and so easy to ID. I’m so incredibly jealous you have bees! It keeps snowing here. :(