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Margriet,
I’m sending you to pics of this giant that was in our campsite in Terrace BC two years ago.  You can see how big it is in comparison to the loonie.  The other pic shows more detail.
 
Chester
 

I initially though it was a bald faced hornet, but searching through the Internet, the white markings are fewer on the abdominal segments than on this specimen.  It could still be a hornet, but a different species than the bald faced hornet.  Does anyone know what it is?
 
Margriet 
 

After warm temperatures in early spring, quickly followed by a cold spell lasting a good two weeks,  the sun is finally out again.
Bees are busy foraging. Here are a few pictures of what I saw on Kale flowers.

In the past, people have asked me whether male mason bees forage and pollinate.  I presumed they do some feeding on nectar because they would need to be energized over the two  week period that they are around.  Males probably don’t do very much pollinating or moving pollen around from one flower to another because when they arrive at a flower- they do it without much movement over the flower.  Today I took picture of a male mason bee drinking nectar out of a flower.

Male mason bee getting energized by drinking some nectar.
Note long antennae and white hairs on front of face.
Native leafcutter bee feeding on pollen and nectar.  Note stripes on abdomen (Family Megachildae).

 

Another tiny bee (6 mm/1/4″ long) busy feeding on nectar and collecting pollen.

 

It is right in the middle of the mason bee season now.  Stores have stocked up with product and individual customers buy from us direct.   When it is so busy, I do collect stories with pictures on a daily basis for this blog.  I have some catching up to do!  Here is one of these stories from Larry.

We are cleaning our bee condo, and it appears as if we had a few of the
cocoons that had opened and there is larvae in them.  Are they dead?  Also, they seem to be larger that the the cocoons that are still intact (and which we have cleaned to remove mites, etc.)
My first response was to ask for a photo.
“Yes- please send a picture.  It sounds like you have some beneficial wasps.”

Then I received this picture, it confirmed that this is a beneficial wasps.  What is neat about these insects is that different species collect different live food items for their young.  They either collect and feed their young with spiders, moth grubs or aphids.  If one of the wasp eggs did not develop, there might be evidence of the kind of wasp is growing in the nesting tunnel.

This grub or pupae still has a lot of developing to go through before it is an adult.  Further development starts when spring temperatures are on the rise.

These grubs are very fragile.  I usually leave them in their nesting tunnel, remove mason bee cocoons in the remaining nesting tunnels, close the nest up and set it outside again.



Beneficial wasp pupae.  The brown part is the head capsule.



Ground nesting bees usually emerge in June when soil temperatures increase from the cooler spring temperatures.  These bees are often more than a foot down in the ground.  Usually one bee uses one entrance, but in some species a few bees use the same entrance, but different nesting tunnels.

This aggregation is in a school yard ( Burnaby, BC).  When Alie told me about it, she showed me the area adjacent to a small fence.  the kids came out for a show and tell, and they were fascinated.  Anyone know the type of bee?

The soil is quite hard in this area and when the sun shines, the ground is always in the sun.  if you look closely, you can see little mounds of earth deposited by the emerging bees.  The scale becomes a little clearer when you see the children’s feet in the area.  When all the children were back in their class, I checked out to see the scope of the area.  It was quite large  (10 x 10 m or 30 x 30 feet). 

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