"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Blue wasp.. Title change!

** I have just changed the title of this post due to people not reading through to the end and telling me I am wrong!

I had thought this was an orchid bee, a little Euglossa, but after some confusing internet research (I found many varieties of green metallic bees but not many blue metallic bees), I think it may be a solitary mason bee, an Osmia. Or it could be a Sweat Bee, so called because they just love sweaty people. Florida must be sweat bee heaven especially in August. I think the Euglossa bees have much more robust legs than this little metallic bee. It is tiny and almost curled around in a complete circle. Straightened out it can’t be much more than half an inch.

tiny bee

I did not, of course, attempt to draw it so small but a nice big 3 inches so that I had a fighting chance of some detail. The glittering iridescent armour plating is pitted, with, I presume, hair follicles. It shimmers like petrol, purple through blue to green. But the middle section is definitely more green than the tail. The wings are a dark browny colour.

Here is the study with the tiny bee top right.

bee and model

If my drawing is good enough for a positive ID on this bee, I would be interested to know what it really is.

Here is the study .. it's not quite finished but I have run out of time. I don’t think I have tried to paint iridescence before, but surely must have tried a peacock’s feather at some point in my life. Anyway I feel that a better medium would be oils for this. The watercolours are a bit dull.. but then nothing can really match the brilliance of nature’s colours. These are stunningly beautiful little creatures.

There is an interesting article here http://www.greatsunflower.org/en/osmia-leaf-cutter-bees about these Osmia bees. The description, especially the lack of conspicuous bands of hair, seems to be right.

**** update, I emailed Anna at Anna's Bee World who put me right.. this is a blue Chrysididae wasp see next post ...

sweat bee

15 comments:

Elephant's Eye said...

Amazing to follow an artist observing, and then capturing the detail.

David Yener Goodman said...

I've seen the green metallic bees in South Florida. Crazy loud things with very long tongues, a bit bigger than a honeybee. I believe they're a nesting species. Your little find here is unfamiliar to me, however.

sharp green pencil said...

Thanks very much EE. As always it's a delightful journey of discovery but sometimes frustrating if you dont get it right!

You are right David, as you will see from todays (Sunday's)post. I had no idea it was a wasp!

franh said...

How do you get such a wonderful metallic effect in watercolor. Really beautiful !

Dansk Farms said...

I guess I could bee to blame for starting you down the wrong path. I thought that this looked so much like the metallic green bees that it was just a special blue one! I didn't intend to convert you into a wasp artist. However, I must admit that the drawing is beautiful in it's own right. I hope that all is well with you. Best Regards. Bzzzzz Bzzzzzz.

sharp green pencil said...

Thanks Franh.. its not too difficult, like painting gold..you paint just what you see.. and hopefully it comes out right!

sharp green pencil said...

HI there Joe.. yes of course you are to blame !!:) but how I do like a bit of a mystery and some research and something new. I am so glad you added the blue one. Bees here in the Uk not so busy now but have a couple of photos for the blog and now doing some research for 16 more paintings..thanks to your blue "bee"!

Susan Tomlinson said...

Gorgeous. I wish I could afford to fly you out here to do a workshop for my class.

sharp green pencil said...

Hi Susan..would love to come :) meanwhile I am almost back to the blog ...

Nora Lumiere said...

Beautifully observed art.
You totally nailed iridescence.

sharp green pencil said...

Thanks so much Nora..!...but better next time

Thistle said...

I’m from Russia. So, sorry for my English… :)
This insect isn’t a bee, It’s a cuckoo wasp (family Chrysididae). For best identification American –°hrisidids see papers or books of Lynn S. Kimsey and Richard M. Bohard.

Anonymous said...

My name is Andrew K. I’m from Russia. So, sorry for my Eanglish... :)
This insect isn’t a bee, It’s a coocko wasp (family Chrysididae). For best identification American –°hrisidids see papers or books of Lynn S. Kimsey and Richard M. Bohard.

sharp green pencil said...

Thank you.. yes I do know! I had corrected this at the bottom of the post and again in the following post I think I will have to change the title!
But many thanks for letting me know. I could not do the same in Russian! :)

Paul said...

I have one of these bees nesting right outside my front door, not to thrilled about it as i have 3 kids and 10 nieces and nephews that run in and out of my house on the weekends as well as mud dobbers if thats how you spell it. Ive even found a dead one in my attic above my garage. Should I be worried?