Putting the 'Sun' in Sunflower
It's often mistaken for the honey bee.
But it's not a honey bee (Apis mellifera). It's a different species of bee. Specifically, it's a long-horn sunflower bee.
We spotted this sunflower bee July 11 in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, University of California, Davis. Native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis who does bee research in the garden, identified it as a "female long-horn sunflower bee, Svastra obliqua expurgata (family Apidae)."
You often see it on sunflowers and other members of the aster family (Asteraceae), including black-eyed Susans, Mexican hat flowers and Gaillardia.
The sunflower bees put the "sun" in sunflowers./span>
Sunflower bee, Svastra obliqua expurgata, on Gaillardia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of the long-horn sunflower bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)