Wildlife

The Golden Ground-Nesting Bee!

In keeping with the theme of where bees nest…

A few weeks ago walking back in the evening from a day of looking at bees on farms, I noticed something sparkle on the path.

All alone with nowhere to go?
All alone with nowhere to go?

 

Peering closer I discovered that it was a beautiful Seladonia bee and I wondered what she was doing out so late in the evening. Watching her for a few minutes, she flew a short distance and landed near the entrance of a tiny hole in the ground. Peeking out from the hole was another individual Seladonia bee.

Peekaboo!
Peekaboo!

 

She quickly retreated into the nest and the first bee the slipped closer. The reason they were being so shy was so as not to ‘reveal’ to me the location of their nest entrance!

Approaching the nest
Approaching the nest

 

Then she quietly slipped into the safety of her nest.

Goodnight!
Goodnight!

This encounter illustrates one of the many diverse ways that wild bees make their homes. Some, like the honeybees are strictly social, living in families with different castes. The vast majority of bees are solitary, going it alone in the world. But a few, like these lovely Seladonia, appear to have come to compromise of sorts and share their nests, probably with sisters or other relatives. Inside this nest are cells packed with pollen gathered diligently from flowers where the bees will lay their eggs for the larvae to develop with plenty of food and safe from the harsh world…

 

Many different bees nest in the ground especially those in the Family Halictidae. These sites, often at the edges of farms near natural vegetation are important for bees and should be protected as the allow the bees to survive and work as pollinators for us.

 

Seladonia bee gathering pollen
Seladonia bee gathering pollen

So much more to learn about bees!

 

My name is Dino J. Martins, I am a Kenyan entomologist and I love insects. The Kiswahili word for insect is dudu and if you didn't know already, insects rule the world! Thanks to the amazing efforts of the 'little things that run the world' I was humbled to be selected as a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. This blog is a virtual dudu safari through the fascinating world of bugs. Enjoy, leave a comment and send any questions or comments to me through: insects.eanhs@gmail.com

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