Cuttlefish’s Garden

I’d like to see
Ten types of bee
In the Cuttlefish’s garden in the sun
See what I’ve found
Buzzing around
In the Cuttlefish’s garden in the sun

Ok, enough of that.  So, these are onion flowers.  Each is about the size of a grapefruit (like grapefruit, some are larger and some are smaller) and made up of about a gazillion separate florets (very unlike a grapefruit).  I spent some time, the past couple of days, just watching them.  The amount of traffic these flowers get is remarkable; I counted at least 8 different species of bee or wasp, two species of butterfly, and some really fast things I could not identify, just on these onion flowers alone.  I have a really bad shot of 5 species on the flower at one time, but most are blurred with motion or focal plane.

So I thought I’d test my readers’ insect identification skills–just hymenoptera today. I know some of the answers, but certainly not all! For now, the flower is your guide to insect size; if you need numbers or any other information I can give, just ask.



D (left) and E (right)

I, on Cilantro flowers
J, on Oregano flowers


  1. says

    Not being an expert, I won't quite "confirm" your guesses, but I will say that both are consistent with the size, location, and behavior of the critters I saw. As far as I know, you are correct, but I'd defer to an expert with better evidence than I have.

  2. says

    A: That's Simon. Nasty problem with his right hind-wing, always says it was the result of a bar-fight but I've heard other claims that he was trying to escape out of a third-story window to get away from the cops after a notorious campus party back in the days.B: Bert. Loves that beret he's got on his thorax, won't go anywhere without it. His arse hasn't got any smaller despite that gym membership, I've noticed. SAYS he lost five pounds over the hols but I'm reserving judgement until I see him do the 'City to Surf Fun-Fly' next month.C: That's Hilda. She's another one that you can't mention 'dieting' around. Mostly because if you eat anything around her, she'll claim you're binging. Best to avoid her at dinner parties unless you want hear her go on and on about weight-reduction shakes.D and E: Edmund in the slimming stripes (usually he's with Harris, funny to see him here) and Gerta in her typical Emo-attire. That bug puts the drone in humming, she really does. In fact, I didn't think these two knew each other… does Harris know? Oh my…F: Mary. Black abdomen after Labor Day. Says it all.G: Harris. Wearing stripes to match Edmund. Without Edmund. Oh dear, don't show him that other photo featuring Gerta, or There. Will. Be. Blood. Or at least a lot of slamming of doors and hissy fits at the next Bug Ball.H: Anya. Camera-shy. Saw her shove an entire icebucket on her head at the last shin-dig to avoid getting photographed, has a real issue with being identified online. So, you lucked out there. Don't expect her to be tagging herself on your Facebook photopages though.I: Eric. The half-Abee. Don't say that around him, he threw SUCH a tanty last time someone made that joke, you'd think he'd just smile and graciously change the subject, but oh no, Eric has to rant about the 'Pythons and how they just RUINED his good name… for hours… J: Tom. Hippy. Says it all. Don't let him in the kitchen after he's spent the entire night smoking in the bathroom, he'll eat everything in the fridge and blame the dog.

  3. Anonymous says

    I is a trick question–you let a fly in amongst the hymenoptera :-). It's a syrphid fly, aka hover fly, aka flower fly. Note the stubby antennae, and lack of 'wasp waist'. These guy are great bee/wasp mimics. Some go so far as to hold their front legs up beside their heads to look like bee/wasp antennae! The larvae of most species eat aphids.E is a vespid wasp, based on the wings being folded in half lengthwise as well as general appearance.C, D, F are wasps, unknown to me, partly because I'm pretty sure you don't live in the pacific northwet. I think the rest are bees, also unknown to me, though I'm just barely experienced enough to know that some bees look like bees, and verse-vicey.None are honeybees, Apis mellifera. I consider this a good thing. Being enamored of native bees, I'm less concerned than most about a population reduction of an invasive european species that competes strongly for limited resources, and is probably a less good pollinator than it's reputation.For a good shot at real IDs, post these to, where real entomologists lurk.Ceratina


  1. […] in flight. It is a remarkable photo, and I really wish I had taken it. I’ve taken scores of pictures of bees, wasps, flies, and the like in my garden, but never an action shot like […]

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