Bees on Peas

Photos taken July 10th, 2010.  This is right before one takes the ramp to I96West from Okemos Road. I saw a big patch of red flowers once and wondered what they were. They were beautiful seeing from the car (I wonder if they were planted or not, since I did not see this wild anywhere else).  So on my way back from Detroit, on July 10th, I parked my car and got down there and started shooting…

I saw many types of bees foraging there (bumble bees, carpenter bees, honey bees). The flowers appear to be a type of pea with large flowers, either in red or in white (much fewer). Prof. George Ayers (Professor Emeritus here) told me this species is Lathyrus sylvestris (Everlasting Pea).

1. This is a bumble bee.

2. A carpenter bee (Xylocopa). They bore holes in wood and are solitary. This is a less common one, smaller and slender than the regular, larger one. If I were in China, this bee would be very easily mistaken as a giant honey bee (Apis dorsata), if in flight. Both are slender and have smoky wings. [Tim commented that this is actually Megachile sculpturalis, a leaf cutter bee].

3. OK, finally honey bees. One on white flowers.

4. One on red.

5. This one I used photoshop to correct the color (more accurate). The rest I used picasa, which is free and quick and dirty for cropping and uploading. But it has no easy way to correct for the color I actually saw. (Photoshop was used also for the liatris and starthistle photos below).

6. Bees were also foraging on birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) nearby. This is a legume and flowers all summer long and is a good bee plant.

7. The MSU apiary has a large patch of star thistle (spotted knapweed, Centaurea maculosa, Asteraceae) and bees are going crazy on it. A nice bee plant that produces light honey. Unfortunately, star thistle is an invasive plant and is being watched and controlled by many State governments. July 19, 2010. I expect to see large patches of flowers from my drive to Charlevoix in a few days.

8. Finally two bee shots from my front yard. A bee foraging on Liatris (probably Liatris spicata, Asteraceae). Taken July 16, 2010.

9. A bee foraging on beebalm, a mint. July 17, 2010.

Originally posted July 21, 2010
Fixed some photo links March 18, 2023.

Author: Zachary Huang

1 thought on “Bees on Peas

  1. Hi Dr. Huang,

    Nice pictures! I think that the bee depicted in the 2nd photo from the top may be a giant resin bee (Megachile sculpturalis), rather than some type of carpenter bee. It’s my understanding that we have only one species of large carpenter bee in the Great Lakes region (i.e. eastern carpenter bee, Xylocopa virginica).

    Please see

    Best wishes,

    Tim Miklasiewicz


    Thank you!


    Ohio Ecological Conspirators

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