Tuesday, July 1, 2014

When bees go to bed

Yesterday evening, I was pruning salvias when I spied this unusual grouping of bees on a dead branch. Get the camera! I'm pretty sure they're California anthophora because I've found the same species roosting in our Wildscape before. At any rate, the four had artistically arranged themselves until I startled one, and he flew off to roost alone (below).

They may be Melissodes bees, thanks to a friendly Facebook user. Waiting to hear back from Bugguide.net experts....
UPDATE AUGUST 30, 2014: Yes, they are Mellisodes!

The three were fine until the fourth returned, and he upset the top two bees. 

The fourth flew off again. Everyone was fine until the pair (above) started batting at one another with their legs. I laughed out loud! For the entire time of my watching, the bee on the bottom didn't let anything bother him.

The third took off but came back. Then he took off again.
Which left two bees. For a while, that is...
When I finally broke away to go back inside the house, the three remaining bees looked as if they might roost peacefully together for the rest of the night. But, alas, I'll never know for sure how this bedtime story starring bees ended. 


Curtis Freasier said...

Is this behavior associated with swarm events?

Sheryl Smith-Rodgers said...

I don't think so. These are solitary bees. I saw the same four again this evening, leg batting one another and vying for roost positions on the branch.

Ragna said...

This could be titled 'The Private Lives of Bees" except that these bees are battling it out in public. I wonder if they arrange themselves like that as a disguise to look like buds on the bare stem? Great photos!

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