Beauty is in the eye of the bee-holder. The people over at the USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab do research on the native bee populations in the greater United States to get a better picture of how these bees interact with their natural environment. Speaking of pictures, they take multiple macro shots and stitch them together to create a complete and up-close view of the amazing insect. Lab chief Sam Droege makes their large catalogue of scientific photos freely available on Flickr.

Have a look at some of the lab’s stunning macro bee and wasp photos after the jump.

Euglossa dilemma

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Chrysochus auratus

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Philanthus gibbosus

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Xylocopa mordax

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Megachile lanata

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Chrysidid Wasp

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Dianthidium curvatum

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Bombus huntii

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Augochloropsis anonyma

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Augochloropsis metallica

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Many more photos can be found on the lab’s Flickr page.

[via Slate]