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Old 08-03-2012, 10:13 PM   #1
A Bee's Best Friend
 
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Default Digger bee video

Good narration and a few excellent close-ups.

Buzz -- a story of bees on Vimeo
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Old 08-13-2012, 06:28 PM   #2
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This is a MUST watch for anyone who LOVES bees. I'm really hating my paved driveway right about now. I'm remembering back to before we moved in and I'm remembering a few bees hanging around the upper drive before it was paved. I wonder if they were a species of digger bee.
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What do you know about creating "habitat" for digger bees? Do you think it could be as easy as sectioning off an area of our lawn and excavating out the grass and filling it with sand and mud and hand pulling weeds in it throughout the year to keep it open?
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Old 08-13-2012, 11:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Equilibrium View Post
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What do you know about creating "habitat" for digger bees? Do you think it could be as easy as sectioning off an area of our lawn and excavating out the grass and filling it with sand and mud and hand pulling weeds in it throughout the year to keep it open?
Yes, this can be done. I went to a presentation on native bees a few weeks ago and I asked the bee researcher that very question.

She did an informal experiment in her yard. She had a 5 foot deep hole dug and filled it with 2 feet of gravel. On top of the gravel she put 3 feet of sand. She planted sand prairie type plants in the sand. Ground nesting bees are using it.

This is in the Green Bay area and the normal drainage there is not too good, which is why I think she went through the trouble of putting in the 2 feet of gravel. If you don't have drainage problems in your area I would think that just the 3 feet of sand would work.

She didn't say what size the area is, but I got the impression that it isn't too big. I was thinking maybe something on the order of 3 feet by 5 feet.
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Old 08-14-2012, 12:10 AM   #4
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Digger bees do not all need sandy soil, or even loamy soil. Some species can dig in hard clay .
Deep wood mulch is not good for digger bees but a light dried grass or straw covering the ground is ok for some species.
Native bunch grasses leave plenty of available soil bare for bees to utilize.
A sparse lawn will have room for digger bees that do not usually aggregate into large groups.
The area around and under a hedgerow or small woodland or woodland edge that is relatively undisturbed makes good digger bee habitat.
Near fallen trees and wood piles or under the cut and broken stems of forbs and grasses laying on the ground but not compacted some digger bees or wasps will find a home.

There are several hundred species of digger bees. Some emerge in early spring, some late spring, some early summer through late. Squash bees are a species of digger bee. Some leaf cutters are digger bees. Halictids are mostly digger bees.

I provide a variety of habitat for native bees and let them make use of this. Rotting wood,hollow stems, undisturbed ground. Light cover, bare spots, native plants left in place overwinter. Woodland edge,sunnyspots light shade,damp soil,water, there is a bee that can use it if we leave undisturbed for long periods of time.

http://dda.delaware.gov/publications/plant_industries/Bee%20Guide_07.pdf

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Keep natural areas, natural. Bark mulch used to cover bare ground can prevent
bees such as digger bees, from burrowing. Cutting all of the patches of rough grass
can deprive bumble bees of a home and removing logs, dead limbs, or snags reduces
the number of natural nesting sites for cavity nesters.
http://www.nybiodiversity.org/summaries/bees/species.html

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The majority of bees in New York State are digger bees, ground-nesting, solitary bees, such as Andrena, Lasioglossum, and Melissodes. Digger bees comprise roughly 60% of the species of bees in New York State. Species of Andrena are typical of ground-nesting bees in their life history. At the start of the active season (in the spring, summer, or fall, depending on the species) females begin constructing their nests, subterranean systems of tunnels. At the ends of the tunnels, females construct oblong cells which they line with a hydrophobic secretion produced in a gland specifically for this purpose called the Dufour's gland. After foraging on nearby plants for pollen and nectar, they store several loads of pollen and nectar within each cell, form the pollen into a variously shaped loaf or ball, and lay an egg on it. Larvae consume the pollen/nectar provisions. When larvae complete feeding they may enter diapause (a resting stage) as last instar larvae (the developmental stage just before pupation). Most digger bees overwinter as last instar larvae. Development is completed in the following spring or summer, and adults of a new generation begin the cycle again. Some digger bees (such as Andrena, Halictus, and Lasioglossum) overwinter as adults. This is presumed to allow for the earlier adult emergence in the spring.
Colletes inaequalis is a common vernal bee in the earliest days of spring. Females construct nests in grassy areas such as lawns, cemeteries, and gardens. Nesting aggregations can be huge (with several thousand nests) and dense (with over 100 nests in a square meter). If you are lucky enough to find these bees nesting in your yard, don't try to kill them; they won't sting, and they are probably good for soil aeration. They are also fun to watch!
http://aces.nmsu.edu/ipm/documents/native-bees-booklet-final.pdf

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There are about 70 species of Anthophora bees in the US, with a considerable diversity in New Mexico. Most are relatively large, stout, hairy bees (often grey in color) that fly rapidly between flowers. These so-called ‘long-tongued’ bees can extract nectar from deeper flowers such as those of some native Penstemon species. As their name suggests, they nest in the ground – some will even nest in heavy clay. Like bumble bees (Bombus spp.), some Anthophora are important pollinators of tomato plants.
The long-horned bees (tribe Eucerini) are so named because the males typically have very long antennae (those of the females are much shorter, so that the two sexes may at first glance be mistaken for different species). Most of these bees nest underground.
http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/bees/halictid_bees.htm

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Halictids display the most diverse gradation in social behavior (Michener 2007) as species can be solitary, communal, semi-social or eusocial. Some species exhibit solitary or eusocial behavior depending on time of year, geographic location, altitude and often unknown factors (Michener 2007). The genus Lasioglossum (=Dialictus) in Halictidae is one of the largest genera of bees worldwide, with an incredibly diverse array of behaviors.
Bees are cool!!
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