Monday, September 04, 2006

Bee excitement at School

No Killer bees, but last Friday I was prowling around campus looking for something to blog on and found a wonderful patch of bright blue Salvia that had been just planted by our landscaping staff. So I wondered over to see what insects were visiting and was excited to find the plants being visited what for a second I thought were yellow jackets that turned out to be these wonderful yellow and black Anthidium bees, at least what I think is Anthidium.

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The actual bee is a bit under 10mm long and quite fast so I was lucky to get these shots. At first I thought these were Anthidium manicatum, an introduced species from Europe, but I don't think so. Knowing the danger of trying to identify insects from pictures I wanted to catch one for keying out. Since I didn't have an insect net, I caught one in a plastic bag used to line a trash can and it only took me five tries to perfect the technique of catching a bee in a trash bag on a windy day all the time hoping I didn't get busted by campus security.

The bee is safely in my freezer awaiting a chance to key it out and maybe a visit to KU's bee collection to check my ID. The mint, according to our greenhouse people is Blue Victoria Sage, Salvia farinacea.

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