Solitary bees and wasps in your own backyard!

Honey Bee Research & Extension Lab      


Abdomen. The hindmost of an insect's three major body regions, in which most vital organs are located.

Anther. The part of a flower's stamen that bears the pollen.

Biodiversity. Refers to the variety of organisms in the world or in a particular habitat or ecosystem.

Brood Cell. A chamber in a bee nest where larva develops.

Carpel. The female part of a flower, made up of stigma, style, and ovary.

Cleptoparasite. A bee species that does not make its own nest, but instead lays its eggs in the nests of another species so that its offspring can eat the food provisions intended for the host larvae.

Co-evolution. The process in which two or more species contribute reciprocally to the forces of natural selection.

Corbicula. Also known as a pollen basket. The structure formed by long, stiff, inward curved hairs surrounding a smooth area on the hind leg of some bees, used to carry pollen moistened with nectar.

Cuckoo bee. A cleptoparasite that lays its eggs in the nests of solitary bees.

Ground-nesting. Refers to bees that excavate nests in the ground.

Head. The foremost of the three major body regions of an insect.

Hymenoptera. The insect order the contains bees, wasps, sawflies, and ants, characterized by adults with biting and chewing mouthparts, two pairs of wings, and prominent antennae.

Invasive species. A species that can crowd out, displace, or otherwise harm native species of plants and animals.

Keystone species. A species that is needed for the survival of other species in an ecosystem, the loss of which would thus lead to the decline or disappearance of other species.

Metamorphosis. The process by which an insect changes in body form as it develops.

Native. A species of animal or plant that naturally occurs in a region.

Nectar. A sugar-rich fluid produced by flowers, which attracts pollinating animals.

Nectar corridor. Habitat along the migration route of a pollinator, either a continuous strip or "stepping stones," which provides foraging and refueling resources across an otherwise inhospitable landscape.

Nectar guides. Patterns of color markings on petals that direct flower visitors to nectar.

Nesting Preference. The choice the female bee or wasp exhibits when deciding where to lay their eggs.

Nonnative. A species of animal or plant that does not occur naturally in a region.

Oligolectic. Pollinators that collect pollen from a limited range of plants to provision their brood cells.

Pollen (aka. Pollen grains). Microscopic, hard capsules containing the male gametes of a plant.

Pollination. The transfer of pollen grains from an anther to a receptive stigma.

Pollinator. An animal that moves pollen and can affect pollination.

Polylectic. Pollinators that collect both pollen and nectar from a wide range of plants.

Pupa. A life stage of insects that undergo complete metamorphosis.

Pupation. The act of changing from a larva into an adult.

Social. Refers to insects that live in colonies and work together to build nests and to provide food for and raise their offspring.

Solitary bees. Refers to bees that, after mating, prepare and provision their own nests without cooperation with other bees.

Solitary wasps. Refers to wasps that, after mating, prepare and provision their own nests without cooperation with other wasps.

Sonicate. The ability of certain bees to vibrate their flight muscles creating vibrations that dislodge pollen from flowers. Also called buzz-pollination.

Species. Individuals that can breed freely to produce another generation.

Species Distribution. The manner in which a species is spatially arranged.

Stamen. The male part of a flower, comprised of an anther on a filament.

Stigma. The part of the flower that is receptive to pollen and on which the pollen germinates; the tip of the pistil.

Thorax. The central of an insect's three major body regions, and the one to which wings and legs are attached.

Tunnel-nesting. Refers to bees that excavate nests in tunnels.