Spot the bees!

All right, you’ve been reading this website long enough to be able to eliminate the most obvious non-bees from today’s New York Times quiz. Click on the screenshot below to go to the test, which involves clicking on everything that you think is a bee (a box will appear around each of your choices).

Here’s a bigger picture:

When you click every one you think is a bee, and then click the “Done” box that will appear, you’ll get your score (I missed one, thinking it was a wasp).  Apparently I’m among the hapless 30% of Americans who doesn’t get them all right, but I attribute that to biological overthinking.

It would have been an even more informative quiz had they included some bee mimics like these flies, because then you’d learn about Batesian mimics and evolution as well:

Finally, there’s a multiple choice question in which you guess how many bee species there are in the U.S.  That one I got right, but I’m still smarting for being below average on a biology question. At least I don’t think a grasshopper is a bee!

40 Comments

  1. Posted September 11, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I correctly identified five bees, missed the sixth but also avoided falling into the trap (yes there is a bee-like insect there that is not a bee) – not bad for an amateur I would say.

    • Posted September 11, 2017 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      Looks like a ‘velvet ant’ – Mutillidae…

  2. Posted September 11, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Follow up to my first comment – I also got the multi-choice question right.

  3. KD33
    Posted September 11, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Yep, I missed a few, too. The selection I was presented was different than in the post. Some interesting bees out there! The article mentions a green “sweat bee.” I’m pretty sure I saw one of those last year, and had no idea what it was. Random aside: after a bike mishap I ended up on my back in my driveway, looking up into our oak tree. There were an incredible number of bees going after the pollen, and the sound they made was very calming as I lay there feeling my aching back.

  4. Liz
    Posted September 11, 2017 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    I guessed four correctly and missed two of them. My estimate for the question was too high so I did not get that one.

  5. sshort
    Posted September 11, 2017 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    I got all 6 out of 9 and the correct number of species. But I may have scored the same if I had just thrown darts at ’em.

  6. Hempenstein
    Posted September 11, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    I got hover-over boxes without insects until taking the last part (ref=?oembed) out of the link.

    Might be good to modify the embedded link.

  7. busterggi
    Posted September 11, 2017 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    5 out of 6, I’ll take it.

    Sad part is that’s more bees than I saw in my yard all summer.

  8. Hempenstein
    Posted September 11, 2017 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    I got 4/6, but correctly suspected that the other two were probable bees.

    I wonder how many clicks the housefly & grasshopper got? (Moth was absent in the quiz that came up.)

  9. Randy schenck
    Posted September 11, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Well, I got the species number correct. Good guess.

  10. ethologist
    Posted September 11, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    I correctly identified all the bees. I was wrong on the number of bee species in N. America. By the way, I have been maintaining a tumblr for a couple of years on the use of non-bee pictures to illustrate news stories or adverts dealing with bees (or non-honey bee pictures for stories about honey bees). For your entertainment: notabee.tumblr.com

    • Diane G.
      Posted September 12, 2017 at 2:45 am | Permalink

      Speaking of inappropriate pictures…

      A while back the either the WaPo or the NYT ran an article about all the problems facing honeybees, and illustrated it with a picture of a huge cornfield, along with a caption about how important crops like corn were threatened by disappearing bee populations.

      (I was one of several to point out that corn was wind pollinated…)

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted September 12, 2017 at 3:36 am | Permalink

        A nitpicker after my own heart 😉

        cr

      • busterggi
        Posted September 12, 2017 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        And where does that wind come from? From the flapping of bee’s wings, that’s where.

        • Diane G.
          Posted September 13, 2017 at 3:24 am | Permalink

          Doh!

          😀

      • ethologist
        Posted September 12, 2017 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

        Ugh!

    • Diane G.
      Posted September 13, 2017 at 3:56 am | Permalink

      Love the Tumblr site!

  11. bbenzon
    Posted September 11, 2017 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Got four right, missed two. And I made a good guess on the multiple choice. The guess wasn’t a poke in the dark, but if you’d asked me strait out, How many bee species in North America? I have no idea what answer I’d have given. But 20K just seemed too high, while the other just seemed too low. Didn’t fit the profile for this kind of article.

  12. Kevin
    Posted September 11, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    I am a bee failure. 2/6, though I have xeriscaped my yard with indigenous flowers and estimate several hundred bees visit my property every year…go bees!

  13. David Coxill
    Posted September 11, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    I got 6 out of 7 ,the one at center bottom tripped me up .

    • Diane G.
      Posted September 12, 2017 at 2:47 am | Permalink

      There were only six correct pic–in my version, anyway. The one at center bottom is a ringer. I think you got 100%. 🙂

  14. David Coxill
    Posted September 11, 2017 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t notice the multi choice ,i clicked 850.

  15. Posted September 11, 2017 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Got them all. Got the quiz right too. I was obsessed by insects as a kid. I can’t name the species but I still recognise the general form when I see it.

    Admittedly I did hesitate at first suspecting there might be a mimic in there.

  16. Posted September 11, 2017 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    I’m not American but I do watch Elementary and I’m sure the number of bee species in America was mentioned there – Sherlock Homes being a keen bee enthusiast.

  17. Posted September 11, 2017 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    I was hopeless at the identity question, but guessed the number of species correct.

    How many of those produce honey?

  18. Posted September 11, 2017 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    # 2, 4, 6, 8, 10. Not sure about #7. Could be a cuckoo wasp.

  19. Posted September 11, 2017 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Most of them can be pollinators, btw. Not just bees.

    • Posted September 11, 2017 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      I think the first one pollinates dog poop.

      • Posted September 11, 2017 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

        They also visit flowers. Blowflies are not judgey.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted September 11, 2017 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

          And I’ll bet they don’t even wash their hands in between!

          cr

          (I got two, by the way. That’s T-W-O, 2. Yes I know….)

    • lezurk
      Posted September 12, 2017 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      I grow paw paws(asimina triloba) on my small hobby farm and they are pollinated in the spring by flies. To increase the odds of pollination I hang rotted meat on the branches during the day to attract more flies, taking them off in the evening to prevent attracting animals such as possums.

  20. Posted September 11, 2017 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    I got ’em all! Hymenopterans aren’t too hard to recognize.

    • ethologist
      Posted September 12, 2017 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      One of the ringers was a hymenopteran but not a bee

      • ethologist
        Posted September 12, 2017 at 7:56 am | Permalink

        (I think)

        • Diane G.
          Posted September 13, 2017 at 3:33 am | Permalink

          You’re right.

  21. Diane G.
    Posted September 12, 2017 at 2:49 am | Permalink

    6/6 and got the # of spp right, too.

  22. ethologist
    Posted September 12, 2017 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    By the way, Jerry, I’m pretty sure the second of two “robber fly” pictures shown in your post is actually a hymenopteran. The antennae are one giveaway, and I think it is clear that there are two pairs of wings. I’m not a bee taxonomist, but it looks like it may be a cuckoo bee (Nomadinae), a bee subfamily that is entirely cleptoparasitic. Note the pollen grains on the insect’s head, perhaps from visiting a flower (they don’t collect pollen but they do visit flowers for nectar) or from a recent visit to the nest of a bee she has parasitized.

    • Diane G.
      Posted September 13, 2017 at 3:36 am | Permalink

      Agree. (A hymenopteran–but I’d never have known just what kind–thanks for the ID!)

  23. Posted September 12, 2017 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    They’re all bees. Bee identity is on a spectrum.


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