Honey bees do different jobs as they get older. The young bees take care of the brood, and the older bees go out and forage or gather food.
In the fall, the foraging bees don't look too bad.
They are still fuzzy and their wings are in good shape.
Now contrast that to some honey bees out foraging this week.
Can you see the dark patch on the back of the thorax? This bee has lost some of her hair.
The quality of this photo isn't the best, but can you see how ragged the edges of this honey bee's wings are?
These honey bees have been in the nest all winter, probably working hard to keep it warm. They are worn out.
Have you ever spotted a honey bee that was worse for wear?
Yesterday I was stalking my sunflower plants for insects to photograph, and all the critters seemed to be just out of range. Of course, it didn't help it was hot outside and I had other things to do.
The checkered skipper was on the other side of the garden.
The leafcutter bee teased from afar.
Take a deep breath.
The checkered skipper came in for a closer view. Be patient.
The leafcutter bee finally perched nearby (uncropped image).
Patience is rewarded.
With a little cropping, we have our Bug of the Week.
After doing Bug of the Week for so many years, it can be difficult to find something new. This week I was lucky.
Although it looks quite a bit like a sand wasp, this is a new kind of cuckoo bee. It might be Triepeolus sp. (like this one).
Look at the tongue (proboscis) that it using to suck up nectar.
We have seen another cuckoo bee in our yard before, Xeromelecta californica (previous post).
Named after cuckoo birds, cuckoo bees lay their eggs in the nests of other kinds of bees or sometimes wasps, depending on the species. They don't build their own nests and lack pollen baskets for collecting pollen. It's not a warm and fuzzy lifestyle, but that's nature for you.