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Photo#3465
Mining Bee in nest - Colletes inaequalis

Mining Bee in nest - Colletes inaequalis
Amherst, Massachusetts, USA
April 17, 2004
There were several of these holes clustered together with the residents peering out.

Note the fly next to the nest. I'm not sure if it's resting or waiting for the bee to leave in order to lay eggs...

Hi Tony, do you think you cou
Hi Tony, do you think you could share with me more detailed information about the site where you took this picture?

 
Site
This is a grassy field on the property of the elementary school in Amherst. It is occasionally used as a play area and is mowed frequently. The bees would be in quite an abundance very early in the spring.

Moved
Moved from Mining Bees.

Colletes inaequalis
female

Solitary Bee
Hey Troy,

I spoke with my friend, entomologist Faith Deering, about these bees and the other one I posted.


Though the wing veination matches, she said it was too early in the year for leaf-cutters to be out. Here is what she thinks they are:

Solitary Bees
The small ground nesting bees observed in areas of sandy soil are members of the family, Andrenidae. Characteristics of this family (of which there are approximately 1200 species) are: Small size, 20 mm, (or smaller) brown to black in color, and nesting in a burrow in areas of sparse vegetation, old meadows, dry road beds, sandy paths. Although the nests are built in close proximity of one another, the bees are solitary (each female capable of constructing a nest and reproducing). Andrenidae bees are active in March and April when they collect pollen and nectar from early spring blooming flowers. The female bee digs a hole 2-3 inches deep excavating the soil and leaving a pile on the surface. She then digs a side tunnel that ends in a chamber (there are about 8 chambers per burrow). Each chamber is then filled with a small ball of pollen and nectar. An egg is laid on the top of each pollen ball and the female seals each brood chamber. The emerging larval bees feed on the pollen/nectar ball until they pupate.

 
Thank for the update
I'll move things around a bit and place these photos under a solitary bee category.

Nice behavior shot
I didn't notice the fly until I read your notes. You mean you didn't wait around to see what it was going to do?! I often find little flies in my shots when I review them. Some seem to be scavengers and hang out with predators.

 
Flies...
I did wait around for awhile, in fact, the bees make an interesting buzzing sound when they go back into their burrows. I may have to shoot a quicktime of it...

The fly took off before it did anything:( Trust me, I would have been so psyched if I could have caught it going down into the hole. I've read that's more a Beefly thing...isn't it?

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