Digger Bees in the Old Iris Box

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These lovely female digger bees set up shop in my mother’s cleared out Iris box. I was lucky enough to capture this beautiful aggregation of these solitary ground nesters, and I love sharing it with you!  I believe they are Melissodes, which I wrote about a few weeks ago and you can view that post here.   There are a few points of interest in this slide show.

First, you will notice that some mounds of soil do not show a hole in the top.  Well, that is because lady digger has temporarily plugged it for safety, or she could be finished nesting in that tunnel.  They spend a lot of time moving soil, but I didn’t see it happening, as everything they did was in fast-forward motion!

It was challenging capturing these beauties in action, as they were hasty to retreat into the tunnels, and speedy to take flight for another round of foraging!  I tried to catch them collecting pollen and nectar, but all I could get was a blur of wings and antennae.  I am happy with the photos of the two I did capture heading into their tunnels; it is proof these holes are bee holes.

I observed them visiting snap dragon blooms in addition to sunflowers.  I couldn’t believe the amount of pollen all over these girls; they were always bright yellow with the dust of pollen upon return from foraging.   They are excellent pollinators with that pollen-carrying capacity!

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Melissodes, as is true with many fall flying bees, seek out sunflowers, and if you look closely you’ll see the pollen dust on the pedals of this bloom.  That’s a load of protein rich goodness which will give bees long sustaining energy.  Sunflowers are a long awaited treat to many!

I do hope you enjoy these pictures, and I hope you are fortunate enough to see these busy bees this fall.  Don’t forget to look down at the soil and under plants or between rocks; that’s where the good stuff can be found!

Cheers to the movement!