Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Tiny bee on wild garlic flowers

with 19 comments

Tiny Dark Bee on Wild Garlic Flowers 8074

The flowers of wild garlic, Allium drummondii, are gone now, but they were in their prime on April 7th when I photographed this group in the panhandle of St. Edward’s Park in northwest Austin. What I find enticing about the tiny bee is the bands of pale green on it.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 28, 2014 at 5:58 AM

19 Responses

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  1. Do you know the name of the bee? It’s very pretty.


    May 28, 2014 at 6:46 AM

    • I, too, like the looks of this insect, but I’m afraid I don’t know what it is.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 28, 2014 at 7:10 AM

      • I started looking through a bug/bee list for Texas and at bug number 50, or so, I gave up.


        May 28, 2014 at 8:19 AM

  2. Lovely flower – the bee appears to have a greenish tinge??


    May 28, 2014 at 7:36 AM

    • It does indeed, and those bands of lime-sherbet green caught my attention. I can’t recall if I’d ever seen this kind of insect before.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 28, 2014 at 8:13 AM

  3. Isn’t that its proboscis I see? I just looked up wild garlic to check the size of the flowers, and they are as tiny as I remembered — which means most of us never would notice that bee, let alone its proboscis. Macro photography works its magic again.

    If the huge bumblebees I saw this weekend were station wagons, this sleek little fellow would be a Maserati.


    May 28, 2014 at 9:25 AM

    • I looked at the full-size image just now and I think you’re right that you’re seeing a proboscis. And you’re also right about the small size of wild garlic flowers: each one fully open is about 3/8 to 1/2 of an inch across, so those lengths are also the limits on the size of this little bee. As you’ve heard me say so many times, where would I be without a good macro lens? You get a prize (but not a car) for being the first person ever to liken one of my photographic subjects to a Maserati.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 28, 2014 at 2:49 PM

  4. What a beauty. I would guess that he or she is a species of solitary bee. If indeed it is a bee – I can’t see any pollen baskets on the back legs. Some species of flies look a lot like bees. One way to tell is that flies have two wings and bees four.

    Emily Heath

    May 28, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    • I struggled trying to decide if this is a bee or a bee-fly. I’ve read all the distinguishing criteria several times, but I still have trouble making a decision. The number of wings, for example, isn’t always easy for me to tell, because one set can be hidden by another. I’m clearly do much better as a photographer than as an entomologist. From what I’ve read, most of the kinds of bees in Texas—and there are many—are solitary species.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 28, 2014 at 2:56 PM

      • I know what you mean about the number of wings. It certainly is tricky.

        Emily Heath

        July 14, 2014 at 3:42 PM

  5. awesome shot


    May 28, 2014 at 12:28 PM

  6. When I put in my native garden, I was delighted to discover hoverings of tiny bees. They are so cute! This summer I’ve been seeing enormous insects that look and act like bumblebees, but are in fact, flies! wow!

    Love this shot of Limus sherbetus 🙂


    May 28, 2014 at 2:01 PM

    • There are many, many tiny—say cute if you will—insects out there that I’d never get a decent look at without my 100mm macro lens. As small as they are, they seem just as complex as their larger analogues. With regard to bees and flies, note Emily Heath’s comment above. And with regard to the species Limus sherbetus, that coinage is all right by me.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 28, 2014 at 3:02 PM

  7. […] Another goer on wild garlic, Allium drummondii, that I saw on April 7th in the panhandle of St. Edward’s Park in northwest Austin was this little caterpillar. The cluster of buds confirms that these flowers were in an earlier stage than the ones you saw last time. […]

  8. I always think of you when I go photographing with my little point and shoot, taking pictures of decidedly unwild flowers. I do keep an eye out for wild ones, then, before defaulting to yet another aerial view, I do think for a moment whether it’s remotely possible to get down low enough to get a Schwartzman-like angle, and, more to the point, get back up again.

    Susan Scheid

    June 1, 2014 at 4:29 PM

    • I’ll confess that getting back up from a prone position isn’t quite as easy as it was a few decades ago, but I haven’t failed to rise yet. If there’s a native plant group in your area, you might want to go on one of their field trips to learn about (and photograph) some indigenous species. That’s one of the things I did once I began to get interested in native plants in 1999.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 1, 2014 at 4:48 PM

      • I did very nearly fail to rise, and I thought I was fit! About the native plant group, there actually was a wildflower walk organized by such a group recently–we encountered them at Innisfree. About 30+ people looking at one little plant! Innisfree is lovely, and I’m glad it’s there, but it’s really more pointed toward cultivated plants, I think.

        Susan Scheid

        June 1, 2014 at 7:47 PM

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