Moldy bees?

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Dassi
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2020 8:28 am
Location: Alberta, Canada

Moldy bees?

Post by Dassi »

Moldy bee.jpg
Moldy bee back view.jpg
We have had a long rainy stretch of weather here lately and many of the insects haven't had a chance to get out and feed. Today the sun came out for the first time and there was a flurry of activity as everything emerged from their hideouts. I noticed that several of the bees now have these brown matted patches on their backs, and some have it on their legs as well. It sort of looks like it could be pollen mixed with matted hair, but I was also wondering if they were possibly growing some sort of fungus or something? I was wondering if anyone else has noticed this or knows what is happening? The second picture shows the back of the bee, with a closer shot of the area I am referring to.

rjlittlefield
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Re: Moldy bees?

Post by rjlittlefield »

I don't know about the mat, but the second picture looks like there's also some sort of mite.

The body shape looks too elongated to be Varroa. I don't know what it is.

In any case, I'm suspicious that the mite and the mat have something to do with each other.

--Rik

AlxndrBrg
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Re: Moldy bees?

Post by AlxndrBrg »

It's matted hair mixed with soil, perhaps because of the rains - the bees stay in their burrows during bad weather, and these are ground nesting Andrena sp.

The mite is probably not parasitic, many bees have symbiotic relationships with Acari, just look up "acarinarium" and you'll see. Andrena does not have any acarinaria (to my knowledge) but you can often find these sorts of mites riding around phoretically on many types of wasps and bees, perhaps it's going for a phoretic ride looking for the "right" host.

rjlittlefield
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Re: Moldy bees?

Post by rjlittlefield »

Excellent -- thanks for the correction and additional information!

--Rik

Dassi
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2020 8:28 am
Location: Alberta, Canada

Re: Moldy bees?

Post by Dassi »

Thank you both for the helpful information, and also for identifying the species for me.

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