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Visitors to the bee yard

I spent a few minutes wandering around the bee yard today and found some visitors.

This yellow crab spider was sitting on a dandelion eating a honey bee, head first. Great camouflage allowed it to snare this meal. The honey bee was busy carrying pollen when she got attacked; you can see the orange-colored pollen in her corbiculae.

The spider is a Misumena vatia in the family Thomisidae. It is called crab spider because of its appearance and the way it can move—even sideways and backwards. This species is able to change color from yellow to white to match the flower on which it sits. The crab spiders don’t spin webs, but ambush invertebrates when they come to visit a flower. They paralyze their prey with a venomous bite and then consume it at their leisure. The eight small eyes allow it to detect the slightest movement.

Below is an unused top-bar hive which I hadn’t opened in several months. Today when I removed the lid I found a mouse nest and a dead mouse. When I poked at the nest with my hive tool, a live mouse popped out as well. If bees were living here, they would never allow this to happen.

Mouse nest in a top-bar hive

A few minutes later I saw this cute bug. I don’t know what it is, but as a visitor it was a lot more welcome than the other two.

Unknown insect

Comments

Richard Martyniak
Reply

#3 is likely a syrphid fly, many of which are Hymenopteran mimics. They are considered beneficial–larvae can be predaceous on plant sucking insects and adults help pollination. Nice site btw. found you on twitter. My twitter acct. is ” AFBR “.
Richard Martyniak

Rusty
Reply

Richard,

Thanks for the info. I’m terrible at distinguishing flies from native bees. Do you know any of the the insects here? http://wp.me/pLmcw-7z The bumble bee is the only one I know.

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