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2011-07-31

Gardening with the Hymenoptera (and yet not)

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One of the great pleasures of gardening is observing the activity the garden invites. I can lay out the welcome mat, and set the table, but the guests decide whether or not the invitation is enticing enough to stop by for a drink, a meal, or to raise a family. While charismatic megafauna such as birds and mammals are entertaining, the most common and endlessly diverse visitors are insects.

The Hymenoptera includes bees, wasps, and ants. Although my garden also provides amply for ants, we'll stick with the bees and wasps today. Following are some of the few portaits I've been able to capture of the many visitors to my gardens. The pollinator magnet, Pycnanthemum, Mountain-mint, in the Lamiaceae, provides the stage for many of these photos. I'm always amazed at the variety and abundance of insect activity it attracts when blooming.

Multiple pollinators on Pycnanthemum
Multiple Pollinators on Pycnanthemum

Bees

There are over 250 species of bees native to New York City alone. I'm still learning to identify just a handful of the dozens of species that frequent my garden.

My current favorite is the bejeweled Agapostemon, Jade Bee
Agapostemon, Jade Bee, on Pycnanthemum