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Robber Bees - Apis mellifera

Robber Bees - Apis mellifera
Deep Fork Wildlife Refuge, Okmulgee County, Oklahoma, USA
August 17, 2008
I did not get a good shot, but the smaller bees were trying to get the pollen that the larger bee had already collected by stealing it from its legs.

large bee probably Bombus pensylvanicus
the only similar species in OK is B. auricomus

and the smaller bees
look like A. melifera, which is your typical honey bee

cleptolectic Apis mellifera
A comment from Steve Buchmann: "Robbin Thorp published a paper on this pollen robbing behavior by Apis from other bees. He called it cleptolecty."

Yes, I have just observed this again on my trumpet vine. the honey bees were going for the pollen on the legs of the larger bee. I even saw a very small sweat bee land on the larger bees pollen.

I see a lot of conflict among bees on buds, but haven't paid a lot of attention to it. Charles, you've encouraged me to watch more closely.

robber bees
Thanks guys.
Is this behavior common?

Aggressive Bees
Honey bees usually don't attack but bumble bees do for sure! I keep this page bookmarked as a reference for anytime I see a bee, I can see if I should run or not.

i don't think so! honey bees are typically very passive and not aggresive at all. i have never heard of them trying to steal pollen

A different take on honey bee aggression
They will often chase or try to chase other insects off blooms, particularly small native bees. Additionally, honey bees from different hives will push each other off flowers, according to my bee keeper friend. With the exception of harvester ants, they're also the only insects that have chased me in three years of shooting.

Thanks to both of you.
I may be wrong about what they were doing. They may just have been trying to chase the large bee off of the flower.

you were correct
an interesting observation

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