Urban Bees at Chicago Garden

Bumblebee on Zinnia flower in Chicago Garden.png
Since attending the urban beekeeping lecture I’ve been paying more attention to the bees in my garden. I’ve noticed there have been less honeybees in my garden this year. Maybe there is something to the whole CCD thing. But the news hasn’t been all bad. With honeybees, for the most part, absent from the garden it has freed me up some time to observe other urban bees. The photo above is of a bumblebee on the popular annual flower, Zinnia.

Not being an entomologist if you know the scientific name for any of these bees feel free to ID these bees in the comments section.

Black and brown bee on Purple Coneflower in Chicago Garden.png
A black and tan bee on a purple coneflower. Solitary bee?

Sandy colored bee with green eye in sunflower at Chicago garden.png

Yesterday I spotted this bee for the first time in the garden. It was resting in a sunflower and was soon joined by a similar bee. The colors made it blend in well with the flower and avoid detection. I wonder how long I’ve had these pollinators visiting the garden and just haven’t noticed.

Bumblebee and small bee on Nodding Allium in Chicago Garden.png

Another bumblebee this time on a Nodding Allium in the garden. To the right of it is a very small bee, which may be a sweat bee. These little bees have been hard to photograph but hopefully this picture illustrates the size of these tiny bees well.

Black and gray bee visiting Sedum flowers in Chicago garden.png

This black and silver bee is one of my favorites in the garden right now. The next two bees may be the same but the colors look different enough to me to warrant three different pictures.

Dark bee on Coneflower in Chicago garden.png

Solitary bees brooding on Tiger Lily stem in Chicago garden.png
You can click on this photo to get a slightly larger view. In the evening these solitary bees attach themselves to he stems of the Tiger Lilies in the garden. I’ve been observing them return to the same clump of plants and anchoring themselves using their mandibles every evening. Sometimes, they’ll rest parallel to the stem (or leaf) they are attached to and sometimes they’ll be perpendicular. Kind of makes the garden look like a bee circus. The black “balls” are bulblets of the Tiger Lily. You can see a picture of the flower here.

Honey bee visiting sunflower in Chicago garden.png

The honeybee that everyone is so concerned about. Missing from this list are the carpenter bee and a green metallic bee. I haven’t been able to capture one in a photo that I’m happy with, but I’ll update this post when and if I do.

Here’s a video I made of the bees in my garden.

Not from my garden, but a video of a beehive at the Heirloom Urban Vegetable Farm on the UIC campus.

Have you noticed less honeybees in your garden? Have other bees stepped up and taken over the job of pollinating flowers in your garden?


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  • There was a local beekeeping lecture the weekend of spring fling; I'd still love to attend one!

  • In reply to gardenfaerie:

    If it is anything like the one I went to, you should go. The one I attended was just nerdy enough where you felt like you were learning something "advanced" but was being presented in a way someone like me could understand.

  • In reply to gardenfaerie:

    I've been observing my bees but don't know much about them. I'd love to learn more. I just take it as a good sign that they seem to be happily buzzing about my flower beds.

  • In reply to Arianika:

    Me too. I hope WordParty sees this post and they have another one of those bee lectures.

  • In reply to Arianika:

    Very cool! Loved the video.

  • In reply to ssgardengirl:

    Hi SSGardenGirl,

    Thanks for stopping by. Hope summer is treating you well.

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