|Digger Bee - Synhalonia sp.|
Order Hymenoptera - Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies / Family Anthophoridae
Live adult female digger bees photographed in the wild at Winfield, Illinois
Insects & Spiders | Bees & Wasps Index | Bees & Wasps Main | Stinging Hymenoptera
These medium sized bees usually go unnoticed as they feed by collecting nectar and pollen from many flowers in gardens and meadows. They build underground solitary nests. Covered densely with yellow and black hairs, they resemble carpenter bees. Wings are clear but smoky at the tip. The forewings have a small spot on the leading edge with the hind wings having a jugal lobe at the wing base.
Sand and clay banks lacking ground cover are attractive nest sites. The nest entrance is hidden by a down-slanted chimney composed of mud. Inner-branching mud-lined tunnels extend from this chimney, partitioned into brood cells, each containing one egg. Adult bees place honey and pollen in each cell to provide food for the developing larva. Larvae overwinter in the brood cell, pupate and adults emerge in late spring.
Anthophorid Bees, with over 900 species in North America, are most diverse in the western U.S.
Hymenoptera (Latin for membrane wing) is a vast assemblage of insects second only to Coleoptera (beetles) in the number of described species. Hymenoptera number some 115,000 species vs. 350,000 in Coleoptera. 18,000 of these species call North America north of Mexico home. Hymenopterans inhabit a wide variety of habitats, and show an incredible diversity in size, behavior, structure and color.
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