I stepped outside yesterday on my lunch break to photograph some insects near the side of the house. A mint plant was blooming, and I caught a couple of bees that gave me a real challenge at identification. I got a lot of help from Sharp-Eatman Nature Photography's web site. If you visit this site, do click on the Gallery, which contains some fantastic nature shots.
The first bee that I photographed is called a Masked Bee. It's a tiny creature, only about 5 mm:
It belongs to the genus Hylaeus. An interesting thing about this genus is that they don't carry pollen in the usual pollen basket. Instead, they carry pollen in their crop and then regurgitate it into the cell where it will be used as food for the larva.