- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Life is not always sunny for the sunflower bee, Svastra obliqua, a native longhorned bee.
The gals have trouble foraging when a male longhorned bee, Melissodes agilis, targets them.
The male M. agilis are very territorial--and their kamikaze-like maneuvers are spectacular.
The gal Svastras try to ignore them until the dive-bombing results in direct hits.
We saw this female foraging this week on a Mexican sunflower, Tithonia rotundifola. We also saw her bolt after the male M. agilis hit his mark. Gotcha!
Male Melissodes agilis: 1
Female Svastra obliqua expurgata: 0.
(For more information on these two species and other bee species in California, see the Heyday publication, California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists, the work of UC-affiliated scientists , , It's available on the UC ANR website and on other sites. Also access the YouTube video on Svastras by The Bees in Your Backyard.)/span>