Cellophane Bees Return

I’m no entomologist, but I think this is the same species, Colletes thoracicus (Colletidae), Cellophane Bees, that “bee guy” John Ascher identified from my photos last year. This is an individual from a colony that appeared this week in the same place it appeared last year about this time.

Colletes thoracicus (Colletidae), Cellophane Bees

We’ve had rain almost every day for a week. Yesterday I had the day off, and the weather also took a break, with sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s (F). Seems like perfect digging-in-the-ground conditions to me.

The area of activity is much larger this year than last. I wish I had a video camera. In the area of this photo, there were at least 30-40 bees flying around, but I can’t pick them out from the photo at this scale and resolution.

Colony Area

Related Content

Colletes thoracicus (Colletidae), Cellophane Bees, 2008-05-26
Flickr photo set


Wikipedia: Colletidae

5 thoughts on “Cellophane Bees Return

  1. For me the carpenter bees have been back for a month, but just a week or so ago, the yellow jackets returned.

    I was stung by one last summer, the first time I’ve ever been stung by anything.

  2. My cellophane bees came back as well, also in much greater abundance than last year– I have about 100 Colletes buzzing around in a 30m2 vegetable/flower bed. At the start of this year I had to turn the soil where the bees nest and was worried that the shifting soil might kill the larva. However, the soil turning didn’t seem to have a major impact (on this species at least). I also gathered one of the larva that I found while turning the soil and successfully reared it (and a stinkbug) to adulthood in a container in my house.

  3. nycg: I don’t want to talk about the carpenter bees. They are trying to eat my house! They’re also responsible for the first, and so far only, insect sting I ever received, about 5-6 years ago.

    Haven’t seen any yellow jackets yet here.

    Kevin: I don’t think I have a hundred! But 40-50 is possible, and the area is only about 6 square feet. I’d really like to know what I’m doing right!

  4. Congrats on the return of your cellophane bees! Your photos of them are beautiful. Thanks for explaining how you got the "glamor" shots! LOL

    I went to the Bee Watchers orientation at BBG a few days ago and am all pshyched about keeping track of our little buzzing neighbors this year. I love the Citizen Scientist model for studies like this.

    Can we get a sunny day already????



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