Stunning close-ups of bees

I stumbled upon a wonderful collection of super-close macro photos of bees from the US Geological Survey’s Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab.

I think what’s most interesting to me is how the bees actually look beautiful, and stunning, and fascinating, rather than creepy. And I’m no great fan of insects.

Here are a few of my favorites. These photos, by the way, are 1/4 of the size of the originals, just to give you a sense of the detail the camera captured.

In rough translation this would be the "Florida Masked Bee." Tiny, grain of rice things, and usually mistaken for wasps as they carry their pollen internally rather than in their body hairs like other bees. Thus they have reverted to the wasp shape from whence bees came. This is a rare species collected by Heather Campbell as part of her survey of a sandhill area of North Carolina. Photo by Wayne Boo. Photo by USGS.

In rough translation this would be the “Florida Masked Bee.” Tiny, grain of rice things, and usually mistaken for wasps as they carry their pollen internally rather than in their body hairs like other bees. Thus they have reverted to the wasp shape from whence bees came. This is a rare species collected by Heather Campbell as part of her survey of a sandhill area of North Carolina. Photo by Wayne Boo. Photo by USGS.

An uncommon dark Dianthidium from Florida. This one captured on the Atlantic coast in Canaveral National Seashore, Photographed by Brooke Alexander. Photo by USGS.

An uncommon dark Dianthidium from Florida. This one captured on the Atlantic coast in Canaveral National Seashore, Photographed by Brooke Alexander. Photo by USGS.

A cranberry specialist. This bee is one of the few bees that specializes on bogs and bog plants and is found in scattered locations from Southern New England along the coastal plane to the Gulf Coast. This specimen was collected by Heather Campbell in the sandhills of North Carolina. Photograph by Brooke Alexander. Photo by USGS.

A cranberry specialist. This bee is one of the few bees that specializes on bogs and bog plants and is found in scattered locations from Southern New England along the coastal plane to the Gulf Coast. This specimen was collected by Heather Campbell in the sandhills of North Carolina. Photograph by Brooke Alexander. Photo by USGS.

Centris...the tropical western hemisphere's answer to the Bumblebee. Bumblebees are absent from the Caribbean but bees of the genus Centris are of the same size and shape and fill the same floral niche muscling their way into large tropical flowers. Collected by Sara Prado in Puerto Rico and Photographed by Wayne Boo. Photo by USGS.

Centris…the tropical western hemisphere’s answer to the Bumblebee. Bumblebees are absent from the Caribbean but bees of the genus Centris are of the same size and shape and fill the same floral niche muscling their way into large tropical flowers. Collected by Sara Prado in Puerto Rico and Photographed by Wayne Boo. Photo by USGS.

Hoplitis fulgida, a female from Grand Tetons National Park, collected as part of a study of climate change. Most species in this genus are the normal black colored bee things, but a few, like this one are, as the Latin in name implies, glittering jewels. Sierra Williams took this stacked shot. Photo by USGS.

Hoplitis fulgida, a female from Grand Tetons National Park, collected as part of a study of climate change. Most species in this genus are the normal black colored bee things, but a few, like this one are, as the Latin in name implies, glittering jewels. Sierra Williams took this stacked shot. Photo by USGS.

Collected in South Dakota in Badlands National Park, this tiny nest parasite of Colletes is the first record for the state. Amber Reese took the picture. Photo by USGS.

Collected in South Dakota in Badlands National Park, this tiny nest parasite of Colletes is the first record for the state. Amber Reese took the picture. Photo by USGS.

A large bright green with blue overtones Agapostemon from Badlands National Park. One of several species present there and very similar to A. virescens and a bit tricky to tell apart. Photo by Wayne Boo with help from Ben Smith on upping the Photoshopping techniques.  Photo by USGS

A large bright green with blue overtones Agapostemon from Badlands National Park. One of several species present there and very similar to A. virescens and a bit tricky to tell apart. Photo by Wayne Boo with help from Ben Smith on upping the Photoshopping techniques. Photo by USGS</>

A wetlands bee, usually with red on the basal segments of the abdomen but not always. The males with extensive yellow on their faces. Here from the marshes of Kent County, Maryland. Photo by USGS.

A wetlands bee, usually with red on the basal segments of the abdomen but not always. The males with extensive yellow on their faces. Here from the marshes of Kent County, Maryland. Photo by USGS.

Andrena asteroides – A male undoubtedly caught on one of the Frost Asters in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Photographed by Wayne Boo. Photo by USGS..

Andrena asteroides – A male undoubtedly caught on one of the Frost Asters in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Photographed by Wayne Boo. Photo by USGS..

This last one is the same photo as the previous, but I’m posting it full quality.  I could only post a small amount of the photo, because it’s so large.  But this give you a sense of the detail that each of the photos has:bee-6-100


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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

Share This Post

  • Andy Leif

    Great job! These insects are wonderful to look at. And those furry things they have remind me of really furry dogs.
    ___________________________________

    Fuel
    Pump

  • Monophylos Fortikos

    Yeah. I used to live in a basement apartment with a fairly healthy population of these guys, which I think are named Tegeneria duellica. I used to joke that really we were just borrowing the apartment from them. If they were big enough I’d have to trap them under a glass and then release them outside since my partner didn’t like them.

  • pappyvet

    That is good news indeed!

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Egads, that’s a house spider?!

  • Indigo

    Nice.

  • PeteWa

    what little cuties.

  • cole3244

    save the pictures with our pesticides that might be the only way of remembering these amazing beings.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Good news PV, in our area they are thriving. Most of us in this neighborhood plan nectar flora.

  • Monophylos Fortikos

    I get a huge kick out of photographs like this; I hope some day I can afford equipment good enough to take photos like this on my own. Reminds of a photo I did manage to take of a “giant house spider” a few years ago using the macro feature on a crummy Canon digital camera; I’m rather proud of it.

  • pappyvet

    Stunning John ! A real shame so many have died off.

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