Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Striped hairy belly bee

with 18 comments


I’m thinking the insect I found on a Texas thistle (Cirsium texanum) on June 12th is a striped hairy belly bee, which I’d never heard of till I looked at a little guide called Bees of Central Texas. Insects of this sort are in the family Megachilidae, which, despite representation in Texas, doesn’t have anything to do with mega chili. The guide notes that striped hairy belly bees “may raise abdomen while visiting flowers.” Another website says that members of this family are “large, hairy bees with black and white stripes on the abdomen. The belly often appears yellow from the pollen these species carry.” Today’s two pictures fit those descriptions.


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In 1964, the Congress of the United States passed, and President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Civil Rights Act. Martin Luther King Jr. considered it a second Emancipation Proclamation, after the first one that President Abraham Lincoln issued during the Civil War a century earlier. Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act “prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.”

Most Americans believe in the principle that the government should treat people equally, without regard to an irrelevant characteristic like skin color—most, but not all, and certainly not those currently in charge of our government. Last year I reported on a program in which the current administration granted loan forgiveness to farmers affected by Covid-19; the problem was that white farmers were prohibited from applying for relief under that program. That was clearly a violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and a court soon struck down the barring of white farmers from the program as illegal.

Last year I also reported on a similar federal program to help restaurant owners whose businesses Covid-19 had seriously affected. The program forced white male restaurant owners to the back of the bus, so to speak, behind people of any other race and sex. Money allocated for the program would have run out before a single white male applicant could have gotten any. A court soon ruled that unequal treatment illegal, too.

What’s worse, even after those two legal defeats the current administration still keeps trying to flout the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. The latest attempt I’m aware of involves proposed government assistance to would-be home purchasers. The problem is that to qualify for that aid a person has to be black.

You can learn the particulars in a Wall Street Journal editorial. If the government ever implements that race-based mortgage assistance program, of course a white person who’s excluded will sue and will once again prevail in court. How the people in our government believe they can keep trying to get away with such blatantly illegal discrimination is beyond me, but that’s clearly and shamefully what they believe.

Along similar lines, a few days later I learned of a judicial victory that took place in California at the beginning of April. California had passed a law requiring “that boards of directors of California-based, publicly held domestic or foreign corporations satisfy a racial, ethnic, and LGBT quota by the end of the 2021 calendar year.” Judge Terry A. Green found that the law “violates the Equal Protection Clause of the California Constitution on its face.” In his decision, Judge Green wrote:

The difficulty is that the Legislature is thinking in group terms. But the California Constitution protects the right of individuals to equal treatment. Before the Legislature may require that members of one group be given certain board seats, it must first try to create neutral conditions under which qualified individuals from any group may succeed. That attempt was not made in this case….

The statute treats similarly situated individuals — qualified potential corporate board members — differently based on their membership (or lack thereof) in certain listed racial, sexual orientation, and gender identity groups. It requires that a certain specific number of board seats be reserved for members of the groups on the list — and necessarily excludes members of other groups from those seats.

You can read more in a Judicial Watch article and another Judicial Watch article.

I also recently came across yet another example of illegal racial discrimination, this time perpetrated by Brown University, which is is engaging in segregated teacher training.

I don’t think it’s too much to expect that the people running our institutions will treat everyone alike. Unfortunately many of those people favor unequal treatment based on as irrelevant a criterion as the color of a person’s skin. There are many words for that: barbaric, unenlightened, shameful, benighted, unlawful, immoral, unfair, discriminatory, ignorant, unjust, biased, iniquitous, dishonorable, vile, unprincipled, wrong, intolerant, prejudiced, illiberal, racist. Take your pick.

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 25, 2022 at 5:08 AM

18 Responses

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  1. I’ve seen these little bees, too. I noticed the stripes first, but eventually I saw one with that pollen-covered belly. If I didn’t already realize how sticky pollen could be, contemplating their ability to carry it around that way certainly brought it home. The next time I find a primrose with those pollen ‘threads,’ I’m going to touch them and see if they stick to my fingers.


    June 25, 2022 at 6:44 AM

    • You’re ahead of me in noticing this kind of bee, as I don’t recall seeing any before the one shown here.

      I may have recounted what a friend who grew up in Texas told me: people here call evening primroses buttercups, and kids would (or maybe still) push the flowers onto each other’s noses to turn them yellow—that’s the “butter” in the name “buttercup.” If you carry out your experiment you’ll have to try your nose as well as your fingers and take a selfie showing the result.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 25, 2022 at 6:56 AM

  2. Top marks for scientific accuracy, species interactions, aesthetics, and technical photography. Two winners, as Judged by an objective rating scale.
    ** On the issue of discrimination, folks need to get their DNA analyzed to see where their ancestors originated. And perhaps then the race demographics could be put into the dustbin of anachronisms. Most folks are of “mixed” race. I like to put down “Other” since I’m just passing for H. sapiens until the mothership comes back to take home.


    June 25, 2022 at 10:19 AM

    • Speaking of technical photography, using flash allowed me to stop down to a small aperture and thereby get a lot of things in focus.

      Your last sentence is funny. Even without any hope of a mothership swinging low and coming for to take me home, I’m contrarian enough to follow your example and claim “Other” on forms that try to box me into categories for the sake of bean counting. Sometimes I put “Human” instead of “Other.” If I were young and applying to colleges I’d claim to be black (think what Schwartzman means) and dare any college admission officer to imply I wasn’t. I’d never be accepted into Columbia today the way I was in 1963 unless I did something to get around their racialized system.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 25, 2022 at 10:30 AM

  3. I like the names of bees – very down-to-earth descriptions. My favourite here is the ‘hairy footed flower bee’, but I’ve yet to see one.

    Ann Mackay

    June 25, 2022 at 7:10 PM

  4. I have never seen a bellzßbee before. It seems to have set up residence in Texas and shuns the cold climate of the Interior of BC.

    Peter Klopp

    June 25, 2022 at 11:47 PM

    • And yet from time to time I’ve been surprised to learn that a species I associate with the heat and humidity of central Texas also thrives far away in a cold climate. Some species have a tiny range, while others have a broad and quite varied range.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 26, 2022 at 8:09 AM

  5. Who wouldn’t love a bee with such a fun name?

    Steve Gingold

    June 26, 2022 at 3:21 AM

  6. Beautiful post



    June 26, 2022 at 6:42 AM

  7. […] a commentary four days ago I gave several examples of the current federal administration trying to establish programs that on […]

  8. Wonderful photos Steve … I think this rather handsome bee sure is adept at flashing its tummy. Interesting that it uses it to gather pollen


    July 2, 2022 at 2:55 PM

    • I’m not aware of any people that do the same. If there are any, I think they keep quiet about it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 2, 2022 at 3:59 PM

  9. […] my commentaries over the past year I’ve reported several instances in which the current American administration established blatantly illegal programs that judges […]

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