Ground bees

Can you see the little bee head poking out of the hole on the right?

There are these interesting bees around.  They’re developing a habitation around the camper.  I’m not even sure that they’re actual bees, but they seem to be moving in here because of the abundant blackberries flowering all around us.  They live in the ground, and they build their tunnels fast.

Perhaps they are a kind of hoverfly, although they’re yellowish and grey and behave something like Mason bees – those bees that you can make bee blocks for.  At any rate, a pollinator.

All in two days, about a dozen entrances went up (down?), and initially, they were very noticeable because the little pea-sized holes were mounded up with loose moister dirt, like molehills.  Look closely in a hole, and you could see a little bee butt or bee head, and if you waited, you might see another bee come in for a light hovering landing and then slip down the hole, or one come up and push out a grain of dirt.  Get too close, though (about 10”) and the bee in the hole would retreat out of sight like a crab.

At night, they would close in their little mounds!  Each former hole would be a little cone of sandy soil with no hole at all, and in the morning the holes would open up again.  Now, they seem to have established their tunnels, and the mounds are gone, either kicked flat by us walking on them, or the bees spread their loose dirt farther around.

I don’t know what they do in the rain.

They seem to have particularly chosen where we walk all the time and where the wheels of the truck roll when we park, which must cause serious caveins and earthquake damage in their little settlements, but I think they chose the high traffic areas because the weeds and grass are suppressed there.  At any rate, we co-exist.  I try not to step directly on holes, although there are so many and we can’t help it in the dark, and they don’t sting us, thankfully.

Other Bees in my Life

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