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Texas (Zone 8a)
Passionate about Native Plants
Region: Texas Butterflies Salvias Garden Photography Native Plants and Wildflowers Bee Lover
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GrammaChar
Apr 5, 2016 7:48 PM CST
Recently I’ve become very interested in bees - especially the solitary native bees. Everyone is familiar with honey bees (which were imported from Europe), but it’s the several hundred bee species that are native to Texas that do most of the hard work of pollination. They include leaf-cutters, mason bees, mining bees, squash bees, and sunflower bees. Unlike honey bees which live in hives, solitary bees do not defend their nest sites so they are less likely to sting.
They need a wide variety of flowering plants for nectar. Most are ground dwelling, but some prefer to raise their young in small holes found in deadwood, masonry - or bee boxes.

Could this possibly be my first Native Texas solitary bee? I’ve read that they’re small - and this little critter certainly is teeny-tiny. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to put on my bifocals to get a closer look at it. So I will wait for friends who are better educated (and have better eyesight) to chime in. My fingers are crossed… because the bee box is up and I’d love to have a resident.
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GrammaChar
Name: Alyssa Blue
Ohio (Zone 5b)
Bloom where you're planted
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AlyssaBlue
Apr 6, 2016 6:45 AM CST
Sometimes bees are very hard to identify type. For example, the Africanized Killer Bees look just like a normal bee to the naked eye, which is why people in the areas those inhabit, are warned not to get too close because you can't tell which is which.

But I think you'll have to watch the yard a little longer to see what habit the bees develop for a closer ID. Some leave marks- we used to have carpenter bees, and those would bore small round holes on the underside of our wooden swing set. Some build nests in certain spots (house, bush, etc). Watch time of day too, that will help reduce variables.

If you have roses, be careful what you spray to control bugs on them- some of the insecticides will kill bees too even though it doesn't state that on the label. I would read up online first if you need to spray anything in the yard, to see if it's safe for bees.
Texas (Zone 8a)
Passionate about Native Plants
Region: Texas Butterflies Salvias Garden Photography Native Plants and Wildflowers Bee Lover
Birds Hummingbirder
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GrammaChar
Apr 6, 2016 7:12 AM CST
My yard and veggie garden are totally chemical-free. I feel completely safe eating cherry tomatoes straight off the vine; don't even wash them. For some strange reason, they taste better that way!
I hope I never get the Africanized Killer Bees. I just want the sweet, little, solitary natives.
GrammaChar
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Birds Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Winter Sowing Herbs
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wildflowers
Apr 6, 2016 9:10 AM CST
Your bug does have a cute bee look. Smiling It could be in the Ceratina family which are the small carpenter bees. They can be tiny at about 0.1 inches in length up to about 0.6 inches.
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Birds Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Winter Sowing Herbs
Critters Allowed Dog Lover Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
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wildflowers
Apr 6, 2016 12:06 PM CST
Gramma, since you are interested in learning more about native bees, you might like a book called "Attracting Native Pollinators". It's a favorite of mine and has lots of info (that's where I got the info about the Ceratina Bees).

I ordered mine on line a few years ago from The Xerces Society:
http://www.xerces.org/announcing-the-publication-of-attracti...

The Xerces Society does good work with bring awareness to native pollinators. Thumbs up Thumbs up
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Texas (Zone 8a)
Passionate about Native Plants
Region: Texas Butterflies Salvias Garden Photography Native Plants and Wildflowers Bee Lover
Birds Hummingbirder
Image
GrammaChar
Apr 6, 2016 4:29 PM CST
That looks like a book I need to read! Thanks for the recommendation! Thank You!
GrammaChar
Name: Alyssa Blue
Ohio (Zone 5b)
Bloom where you're planted
Garden Art Dragonflies Houseplants Birds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Plant Identifier
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AlyssaBlue
Apr 8, 2016 6:43 AM CST
I hope you never get the African Killer bees either. When I lived in AZ, (the first time I realized what they were), they flew over my head, I screamed and ran into the house. They fly together, in a long trail, and when they pass over it is a very loud hum. Takes to about the count of 10, then that's usually the end of their flying trail. Trust me, you would know when they are around. All I can say, is if they do pass over, duck and get inside.

That's awesome about tomatoes, etc. So much fun to walk by and have a quick snack. I have a couple butterfly bush, and during the summer when it's blooming, the bees go crazy, they're all over the plant. Lots of butterflies of course! But I never mind the bees- they don't care about me, they only care about food.

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