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!
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!