|Halictid Bee – Augochlora pura|
Order Hymenoptera – Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies / Family Halictidae
Live halictid bees photographed and filmed in the wild at North American locations.
There are some 500 species of Halictidae in North America . Many are easily recognizable due to their beautiful, iridescent green or golden colors, making them favorites of many insect photography hobbyists. Most are pollen feeders and important pollinators, especially in light of the worldwide decline of the domestic honeybee. However, continuing destruction of their habitat due to human encroachment and modern agriculture's unfortunate love affair with vast monocultures of self-pollinating crops such as corn, soybeans, wheat, rice are exacerbating the general decline in viable populations of wild hymenoptera .
Fruit and seed crops that depend on insect pollinators (apples, almonds, broccoli, chili peppers, cantaloupe, carrots, strawberries, grapes, among many others) produce relatively little food per acre compared to the crops that provide our staple carbohydrates. The expansion of farmland to produce these crops is a double-edged sword; it destroys wild bees' nesting sites, and it destroys the wildflower stock the bees depend on when the fruit trees are not in flower .
Researchers in Britain and the Netherlands have found that the diversity of wild bee species in those countries has declined since 1980 .
Many species in the subfamily Halictinae are eusocial at least in part, with fairly well-defined queen and worker castes and certain manifestations of their social behavior appear to be facultative in various lineages.
Halictid Bee consolidates load by evaporation
Hymenoptera (Latin for membrane wing) is a vast assemblage of insects second only to Coleoptera (beetles) in the number of described species. Hymenoptera number some 115,000 species – of which 18,000 live in North America. Hymenopterans inhabit a wide variety of habitats, and show an incredible diversity in size, behavior, structure and color.
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