Posted by: buzzybeegirl | October 12, 2009

How many bees can there be?

Hi friends. Before I left for California I met with my friend Greg Corman to build a native bee condo using 100% recycled materials. While I was at his place, I noticed there were barrel cactus flowers open…and many many cactus bees flying all around and into them. I was completely overwhelmed by their numbers. They were beautiful and amazing. Planting native plants in your garden can attract many beautiful bees like these. Greg’s home had many native plants, so there seemed to always be something there for the bees to eat from spring through fall. This is why he has so many bees…and many different species of bees. These are a few photos showing the bee party going on in his yard.

How many bees can crowd into a cactus flower? Do you see the tiny metallic bee on the petal near the middle-right side of the flower? These types of  flowers not only attract specific species of bees that only use cactus flower pollen, but they also attract those bees that use all types of pollen.

Cactus bees inside barrel cactus flower

Cactus bees inside barrel cactus flower


There were so many bees flying around visiting all the flowers, that some didn’t want to wait their turn and instead began visiting flowers that were not entirely open yet.

bees in barrel flower2

Once the bees saw others going into these semi open flowers, others began flying towards them to get in on the action.

You can have many beautiful bees like this around your home if you provide the right environment for them. Giving them food and homes will bring the bees to you. And many flowers require pollination from pollinators in order to reproduce, so it would be good to have them around.


  1. Hi Anna,

    The party continued in my garden for quite a while. Steve Buchmann came over to photograph them and counted six species at a time on the flowers!

    No bees now, however. We’re in that downtime between monsoon bloom and winter bloom. The former was slight this year. We only got 1.5 inches of rain and spotty episodes at that.

    Hope you’re having fun in CA!!!

  2. Beautiful pictures! Do the cacti get so many bees because the bloom is so brief?

    • thanks for visiting Pam. You know, I think the cacti get so many bees visiting their flowers because they have so much pollen and they can gather a lot at one spot versus having to visit hundreds of flowers in a day. And in Tucson, when the cacti bloom man do they bloom.

  3. The bees here go nuts for our lavender over on the side of the house.

  4. We have bees all the time as we have plants that are magnets for them. Nice pictures.

    • thanks nhnursery. Do you guys do consulting?

  5. It’s like some sort of bee-orgy!

    • I guess it would be a bee-orgy since pollination (plant sex) is going on ;p

  6. Great photos! It’s so prematurely cold here in Kansas City that I think the bees are gone until spring, unfortunately. I’ll have to enjoy bees by looking at your photos.

  7. So cute! Are they megachilids or something else? I suppose I ought to learn more about my terrestrials… 🙂

  8. It looks like you are a true professional. Did you study about the topic? haha..

  9. Lovely photos! It’s nice to see some sun–it sure isn’t here in Michigan.

  10. These are Svastra duplocincta, cactus-specialist bees in the Anthophoridae. (Their genus name used to be Idiomelissodes, which is so much fun to say… sigh…). This is one of the organisms I did my dissertation on.

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