Monday, July 09, 2007

Digger Bee

Digger Bee - Svastra obliqua

The common name digger bee is based on the fact that most of the bees in this tribe dig holes in the ground for their nests. Other digger bees nest in wood and some are parasites of other bees. Parasitic digger bees do not construct nests.

Digger bees are also sometimes called longhorned bees due to the especially long antennae of the males. The bee in the photo above is a female.

The velvety fur of digger bees is one of the things that makes them excellent pollinators. All that hair collects a lot of pollen as they move from flower to flower. This particular bee is relatively free of pollen because she had just cleaned herself. When I first noticed her, she was hanging off the tip end of a flower petal by her mandibles and scraping the accumulated pollen off her legs.

Front view

Cleaning off pollen.