July 5th – Collection Reminders and Facts of the Week

Collection kit sampling reminder: For those of you with collection kits, this is your reminder to try to put out your traps sometime this week. Be sure to wait at least 7 days from your last sampling. So if you set your traps on Saturday, you need to wait until next Saturday before considering whether to trap again.

Check the weather for your part of Ohio for the day you hope to sample. Note that weather predictions past 3 days tend to be pretty iffy, so check the weather forecast regularly. If the forecast looks like it is more than a 25% chance of rain, do not sample on that day.

If you can no longer put out your collection kit, please let me know so we can work on getting the kit into the hands of another volunteer instead.

Bee facts of the week: 

  • Digger Bees (Genus Anthophora, Family Apidae) are ground nesting bees that are occasionally documented in Ohio. Those in the subgenus Melea can form large nesting aggregations and each nest has a small little turret outside the entrance. I can’t find my old photos of this, but see the image here for an example of the nesting structure: https://bugguide.net/node/view/275510/bgpage

ID tip of the week:

  • Digger Bees (Genus Anthophora, Family Apidae) are most likely to be confused with bumblebees or longhorn bees. Two species of Digger Bees which make really convincing mimics of bumblebees are Anthophora abrupta and A. bomboides. They are best differentiated from bumblebees by looking closely at the width of the head and protruding face when viewed from above (bumblebees have thinner heads and their face normally does not bulge when viewed from above). Another key differentiation from bumblebees is that Digger Bees have entirely hairy hindlegs and lack the shiny corbicula that bumbles use to pack on pollen. There is also a grey species of Anthophora called the Orange-tipped Wood-digger Bee (Anthophora terminalis) that is more often documented in Ohio than the bumblebee mimics, so knowing the key characters help rule out other genera. The best characters for a genus level ID will be based on the wing venation, with the third submarginal cell being almost square in shape. But we know that most bees don’t cooperate for us to examine their wings in flight, so that can be tricky as well. So sometimes we actually skip the genus level characters and identify to species instead. In the case of the Orange-tipped Wood-digger Bee, it is a medium sized gray/black bee with a nice patch of orange hairs on the last segment of its abdomen. If we were to look closely at its mandibles we would also see a distinct 3 lobed at the tip. For more ID characters see: https://www.discoverlife.org/mp/20q?guide=Anthophora_female

What’s that bycatch?
  • Sometimes other small insects or arthropods also land in our traps. Although they are not our intended focus of this project, I will try to give a little bit of info about different groups we might see in our traps. So hopefully you learn a little  entomology along with all of our awesome bee knowledge. If you want a specific group covered that you are seeing a lot of in your traps, let me know!


  • I’m cheating this week and using a submitted image, but I figured everyone would enjoy this not quite “bycatch” that was documented by Elizabeth and Jay Heiser. This is a lovely Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus) checking out one of the bowls (and it looks like a bee might also be escaping). Chipmunks are ubiquitous across Ohio, so if one of your cups is knocked over, you can probably blame one of these. Though there are plenty of other mammals that are likely to knock over your cups like Raccoons, Dogs, or Humans. Some of you might even have something like a Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel checking out your cups, though those are not nearly as common. To learn more about mammals in Ohio, check out the ODNR field guide on their website here: https://ohiodnr.gov/wps/portal/gov/odnr-core/documents/wildlife-documents/mammals-ohio-fg

Is that a bee?

  • In this brief section, I will show a photo of a bee bowl and let you guess how many of the insects are actually bees. Don’t worry about properly identifying bees in your bowls for now.  This is just so you can start to recognize some of the bees during the season and get an idea of how many bees you actually have.

How many bees do you see? Can you identify any of them?






Okay, did you make your guesses?


There are at least three bees in this bowl! The large one looks to be a Digger Bee in the genus Anthophora, though it initially had me fooled as a Bumblebee in the field. As noted above, the protruding face (clypaeus), width of the head, and extra hairy legs help differentiate it from bumblebees. If you got fooled by the small wasp to the left of the digger bee, so was I. I had to stare at it fully zoomed in and compare the shape of the legs to help rule out a male Calliopsis. None of our other relatively common bees will have yellow legs like that aside from Calliopsis. The upper two bees are either Small Carpenter Bees, Dull Green Sweat Bees, or possibly even female Calliopsis. I’m not entirely sure which based on this view.


And that is all I have for you this week. May the weather cooperate for your sampling and may you stay safe.

Best wishes,


5 thoughts on “July 5th – Collection Reminders and Facts of the Week

  1. Is there a temperature that bees stop flying, visiting flowers, pollinating?
    In other words, with this really hot weather should we expect to find less bees in out bowls? ….I would think that nectar production is less in really hot weather….Thanks…djr

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