Summer Long-Horned Bee on California Delta Sunflower
This bee, a Summer Long-Horned male Melissodes robustior (Apidae), is one of the main reasons why I plant California Delta sunflowers every year. The other main reason? Monarch butterflies.
Now is the prime time to see the Summer Long-Horned bees in our garden, and sunflowers are among their favorites for pollen and nectar.
They are given their common name, Long-Horned, because the males have extremely long antennae.
Males also usually have yellow markings on the lower part of their faces.
The males spend most of their time searching flower patches for females, taking breaks to sip nectar from their favorite flowers.
While females are solitary, nesting in bare, flat ground, males can be observed sleeping on flowerheads, sometimes in groups.
In previous summers, I've observed Long-Horned males sleeping on Delta sunflowers, and I hope to spot them this summer, asleep on either the sunflowers or cosmos flowers.