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ID for ground-nesting bees? - Melissodes - female

ID for ground-nesting bees? - Melissodes - Female
Webb Canyon, ~2000 ft. elevation, Los Angeles County, California, USA
June 1, 2009
By my landlord's pool, there is a thin strip of sandy substrate sandwiched between the stone deck of the pool and the steep incline of a raised concrete planter bed. In the later part of May and first few days of June, I observed a growing colony of bees that were building a lovely series of nests in the aforementioned sandy area. I did my best to be patient and get some shots of the bees themselves, but (as you can see) I had limited success -- they were speedy little guys! Sadly, my landlord's instillation of a new sprinkler system in the raised planter bed above the location of these nests seemed to end the colony's development just as it was really beginning to flourish. This series of images shows two bees (they may or may not be the same specimen), as well as images of four different nests (all located within about 10 ft. of one another). While I did not manage to get measurements for the bees, nor all of the nests, I did measure the diameter of the nest entrance holes in this picture to be about 5.5 mm.

Images of this individual: tag all
ID for ground-nesting bees? - Melissodes - female ID for ground-nesting bees? - Melissodes ID for ground-nesting bees? - Melissodes ID for ground-nesting bees? - Melissodes ID for ground-nesting bees? - Melissodes



Aha! Thanks, John!
I didn't know that Melissodes species built nests like these... One more great bit of info to add to my growing knowledge about the local bee population!

Now, I'm curious as to whether these might be M. communis alopex? Awhile ago, you identified this female for me which was photographed a short distance from where I found these nests:

I also just submitted some images of what I believe might be a male of the same species photographed on the same day:

Nice start; too bad they're gone so soon
I'm pretty sure these are Diadasia. If so, Nick Richter has some dynamite photos posted here. His (and some I shot) built what looked like little chimneys atop the holes.

I found another colony in OC recently and will be going back soon, after we wrap up our DC trip on Tuesday. Will let you know what I find.

Thanks for the commments, Ron.
Yeah, I was pretty bummed that the area got artificially "flooded" like that.

I looked at the Diadasia nest photos and agree that it might be a possibility. I was sort of wondering if they might not be Anthophorula, simply because I found these two specimens in the adjacent pool around the same time of year:

Might just be coincidental though... I have no idea if Anthophorula's communal nests even look like these!

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