Have you thanked a pollinator today?

Give me a B! Give bees a cheer! And a shout-out to bats, birds, butterflies, and beetles. Bees at Oak Point Nature Preserve are doing a fine job, and all deserve merit raises. 

Oak Point 6/15/2014 Rowlett Creek Trail
This bee looks pretty ferocious, even to an insect lover. I sure hope it is Xylocopa micans, and will not come looking for me for misidentification. Please, dear reader, enlighten me!

Oak Point 7/21/2013
I have not been able to identify this plant. There's a splendid one near the bridge that leads from the Spring Creek parking lot for Oak Point. Alas, googling "wacko purple shrub Texas" leads to images of a former president. Not much help!
Bee on basket flower 6/3/2013

I'm so grateful to Michael at Plano Prairie Garden for educating me on the difference between thistles and basketflowers. You will see both at Oak Point, and if you look close you will find both blooms are busy places.

Bee on ironwood July 2013
Carpenter bee on red salvia, Richardson, TX

Original collage by blog author
Until recently I didn't know much more than I learned from Romper Room's "Do be a Do-Bee", the Berenstain Bears, and Winnie-the-Pooh. We are pretty brainwashed with the happy, helping honeybee social hive generalization. Native bees are extremely important pollinators. They are usually solitary, living in wood and underground tunnels. They are the Clint Eastwood Man With No Name bees. For a terrific guide to native bee basics, click on this pdf from the Pollinator Partnership and the USDA Forest Service. And don't bee failing to watch this incredible macro photo slideshow of native bees from National Geographic.    
Thanks, bees!

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