Green Orchid Bee

When we are working with our beehives in the backyard, we sometimes have a pretty visitor – the green orchid bee.  This is mainly a solitary bee and the females gather pollen and propolis (plant resin) for nest building.  We see this behavior of gathering propolis firsthand when they come and steal from an open beehive.  To help, I usually gather excess propolis and place it on top of a hive just for the orchid bees to gather and make their nest.

Here are a few photos of a female gathering propolis and placing it in her pollen baskets on her hind legs.


Plenty of propolis in her pollen baskets.


She flies up and places propolis she has collected onto her hind legs.


They have strong mandibles to gather resin.


Placing propolis on her hind leg.


9 comments on “Green Orchid Bee

  1. What an amazing bee! It is a lovely idea attracting them with the bees propolis, I am sure they would not like the idea of sharing their propolis with a green bee so I hope they did not know.

    • Tabitha says:

      I like the idea of just helping them by providing some extra propolis. 🙂 Some of the honeybees have approached, but they don’t seem to bother each other.

  2. solarbeez says:

    I have really wanted to get a video of bees gathering propolis. I have failed in that effort, so far. Well done and a solitary bee at that. Way to go!

    • Tabitha says:

      Thank you! I’m sure with some time and patience you will get your video. Oh, and having your camera ready at all times helps. 🙂 I’ve missed a few good shots myself by not having my camera ready. Best of luck!

  3. Emily Heath says:

    Stunning photos, I’ve not seen photos of solitary bees doing this before. She looks rather weighed down by all that propolis!

    • Tabitha says:

      Thank you. These bees are a bit stocky when compared to honeybees, so it seems that they may be able to carry additional weight. This particular bee had no problems flying away fully loaded.

  4. Great photos, I really enjoyed this post.

  5. Carrie Khouzani says:

    I am developing an online entomology course ENT 222 here at Penn State University. I am wanting to use the following image:

    The one captioned “This stingless bee has fallen victim to a crab spider.”

    I will be crediting you and linking back to your webpage. Only those students taking the course will be viewing the image.

    • Tabitha says:

      Hi Carrie,

      You are welcome to use any image on my blog for your entomology course. For credit, my full name is Tabitha Lages and you can link back to the blog. Best of luck with your course material!


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