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Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Sweat Bee's Secret

The defining insect of this hike was the sweat bee. Sure there were cicadas in the trees (but not like the last trip at ALL), and the wonderful cricket, and lots of butterflies, but the sweat bees were an unavoidable nuisance. There are two on my leg and several more on my shoe in this picture.

sweat bees

So, Ester was looking at one rather closely one day, and she said, "It doesn't look like a bee. It has fly eyes and fly mouthparts."

Huh. I'd never looked that closely before. Actually, I haven't seen too many of these since I was a kid, and I'm not a fanatic about insects the way I am about plants.

sweat bees

Anyway, it turns out she is right. These are actually hoverflies. There are lots of kinds of them. It might be Episyrphus balteatus, or maybe not. I didn't collect any for further study (unless I find some dead ones in my gear somewhere). I bet Ester has a few folded in the tent!

sweat bees

They can not bite or sting, but they certainly tickle. They like to just sit on your sweaty body and touch you gently, hoovering up the sweat. Tickly things make me nuts!

However, they are really good. Their larvae eat tons (probably literally) of aphids which damage all kinds of plants.

So, I learned something really interesting. Any my request is that you try not to swat the sweat bees. I think I only killed a couple when I just couldn't stand it any more.

See Saved by the Clouds, and Ester
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Loritenor said...

interesting...guess the tickling would drive me bongers too. LOVE your shoes!!

Secondary Roads said...

Thanks for the lessons on that useful nuisance. Nice looking shoes. :)

Ann said...

I wonder if these are what kept landing on me when I was out push mowing the other day. Drove me nuts

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