Leprechaun Bees in Search of Native Plant Gold!

Posted on: March 23rd, 2018 by Samantha Kahl

It’s spring now and because St. Patrick’s Day just passed, we are tak­ing a look at one of nature’s small­est lep­rechauns.… Augochlorop­sis metal­lica, a type of Sweat Bee. Native and metal­lic green, metal­lica is smaller than a Honey Bee!

Augochloropsis metallica (head)

Augochlorop­sis metal­lica (head)

Since these bees are so small, it takes a keen eye to spot them. Augo­chorop­sis metal­lica is found through­out the United States, from Ontario to Florida, and as far west as Ari­zona! They are usu­ally around from March until Novem­ber, with their flu­o­res­cent emer­ald green bod­ies shim­mer­ing in the daylight.

Augochloropsis metallica (back)

Augochlorop­sis metal­lica (back)

Augochloropsis metallica (side)

Augochlorop­sis metal­lica (side)

These beau­ti­fully tiny native bees have been sighted in two loca­tions around the Ashokan Water­shed, Stony Clove Creek in Greene County, and in Oliv­erea of Ulster County! What makes this bee so spe­cial is that it plays a cru­cial role in pol­li­nat­ing our native plants, pro­vid­ing a fight­ing chance for our native plant species to stand up against inva­sive plant species.

A zoomed-in focus of Augochloropsis metallica sightings!  Note:  Stony Clove Creek & Oliverea!

A zoomed-in focus of Augochlorop­sis metal­lica sight­ings! Note: Stony Clove Creek & Oliverea!

If you want to try and see the emer­ald metal­lica bee, make sure to plant native plants in and around your yard!

To pur­chase your plants locally, the Ulster County Soil and Water Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict will be hold­ing their annual Bare Root Seedling Sale in April! Orders must be placed by Fri­day, March 30th using this order form, with pick-up dates being held on Wednes­day April 18th at Ulster County Fair­grounds in New Paltz and Fri­day April 20th at Ulster County Depart­ment of Pub­lic Works in Kingston. If you miss the dead­line, left-over sin­gle stem stock is usu­ally avail­able for walk-up pur­chase at the two loca­tions listed above.

Happy plant­ing, and thank you for sup­port­ing the bees!

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