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Category: Bed Bug Mattress Cover | 30.07.2015
Bumblebees of Britain & Ireland is published by NatureGuides in partnership with Bumblebee Conservation Trust and Habitat Aid.
Bumblebee Conservation Trust is the fastest-growing charity devoted to the conservation of bumblebees and the habitats in which they thrive.
The Macho Bees of the DesertWhen most people hear "bee," they automatically think only of the honey bee. For example Ted Benton's comprehensive "Bumblebees" in the New Naturalist Series and also Edwards and Jenner's "Field Guide to the Bumblebees of Great Britain and Ireland" (maker sure you get the second edition). Loaded with great features, and I especially like the ability to compare species on the same screen.
The pro edition covers all 23 UK and Irish species, including the recently re-introduced Bombus subterraneus (the Short-haired Bumblebee). This bee species was imported to the United States long ago to provide beekeepers with honey.The honey bee dominates the bee news today thanks to its economic importance as a crop pollinator and the sharp drop in honey bee populations in recent years. Whether as honey producer, pollinator, or contributor to our fascination with unsolved mysteries, the honey bee overshadows all other bees in the Americas.
For those who already own Bumblebees of Britain & Ireland, the latest update can be downloaded for free from the App Store. We wanted to release the first version of the app while it is still summertime and bumblebees are around. I highly recommend this app to those with an interest in bees or thinking about looking at them more closely.

Alas Bumblebees are an under-appreciated taxa and at the likely rate of sales in this specialist subject area, it would take several years to recover the necessary investment. And yet there are a great many other bee species that did not need to be brought here from other continents.According to the Xerces Society, an insect conservation group, more than 4000 species of bees live naturally in the United States alone. These range in size from minute creatures so small that they are difficult to see with the unaided eye to jumbo bees, like the big black carpenter bees that always get a response when they cruise up to someone seated in a patio chair in carpenter bee country.One mid-sized species (bigger than a honey bee but smaller than a bumble bee) that is common in central Arizona, although little appreciated here, goes by the scientific name Centris pallida. Unlike the honey bee, this native bee has no universally accepted common name and so we are free to call it the "digger bee" in honor of its habit of digging in desert soils.The digger bee is just one of about a thousand species of native bees in Arizona, many of which have females that burrow into the ground with their jaws and legs when constructing a nest.
In contrast, honey bee colonies are composed primarily of self-sacrificing worker bees, which assist the queen bee in the various tasks needed to produce future queens and kings (which are called drones).The Life of A Male BeeFemale digger bees spend their adulthood nest-building and provisioning brood cells. In contrast, males do nothing to help the females create the next new generation of digger bees.
In fact, when I saw numbers of big grey bees circling around close to the ground, I assumed they were female bees looking for a place to dig their nests.My assumption seemed confirmed when I saw some individuals start digging in the soil.
As I watched one digger at work, I was taken aback when the bee paused for a moment and another bee came bursting up from the mini-burrow that the digger had constructed.
The bee that had been digging immediately climbed on the back of other bee, at which point I realized that I was looking at a male that had found and dug down to meet an emerging female, helping her out in order to mate with her.As you may know, a majority of native bees mate on flowers, which the males patrol searching for females willing and able to mate with them. But in a considerable number of species, including Centris pallida, males hunt for mates in areas that once were used by many nesting females as they created the next generation of bees.
However, at the time I found the males of Centris pallida at work, no cases were known of male bees that were capable of locating mates concealed in unopened emergence tunnels.It's not surprising that no one had learned about the digger bee's special abilities prior to my research.

After all, there is a huge number of bee species in Arizona and a small number of Arizonan entomologists.
Since I had the bee all to myself, I naturally wanted to find out how males managed to find females beneath an inch or so of hard packed desert soil. Here was a fine puzzle for any entomologist.Finding Underground FemalesYou might wonder how to figure out how male digger bees can find females hidden under a blanket of earth. Sure enough, my simple experiments revealed that cruising males had no problem locating and digging up immobile females of their species, a finding that indicates that odor alone provides a sufficient cue for males to find potential mates. The digger bee may be just one of thousands of non-honey bees but it is every bit as wonderful in its own right as the more familiar honey bee.
Moreover, whereas honey bees have been subjected to intense research scrutiny by literally thousands of entomologists and other biologists, Centris pallida and the host of other native bees have been largely ignored. So you and I can make real contributions to our knowledge about life on earth by picking a native bee and studying what it does.

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