I’ve dug for a good bit of time to find why this sweet little bee is tagged “miserable” and have failed. It’s one of the perhaps 2000 species worldwide that are known as mining bees. That’s a bit of a misnomer because they don’t excavate for the purpose of extracting resources from the ground, as miners do. Like the familiar owls, they should be called burrowing bees. They dig burrows, preferably in bare ground, about half in inch in diameter and four to six inches deep, sometimes with side chambers. Each female bee digs its own burrow, but if there are many, they will dig their burrows in close proximity, like a village. These bees emerge very early in the spring. In areas with snow, they may emerge even if there are patches of snow still on the ground. As soon as they emerge they try to mate, and that accomplished, go into their burrows, lay their eggs, and then forage for pollen as nutrition for the eggs when they hatch. They are very active pollinators, and play an important economic role in pollinating early blooming fruit trees such as cherries, peaches, and apples, as well as berries and early flowers. They are smaller than most honey bees. They’re not aggressive, and their stingers are too fragile to puncture human skin. They live four to six busy weeks. By the time this post publishes, their season is probably over, and we won’t see them again until early next year.
Tomorrow: Jumping Spider