Gregarious nesting

Will you be at Red Butte Garden this weekend?

If so, don't miss the long-horned bees (genus Melissodes), nesting in the ground!

A "gregarious" nest aggregation is forming near the base of the Sidewinder trail that leads to the Natural Area (right near the bench). New nest holes (i.e., more bees) are appearing every day!

Long-horned bees are solitary--each hole contains one female making her solitary nest--but they nest near each other:

The nest holes are PERFECTLY ROUND. Most have a little lip around the edge. The last photo is a female Melissodes pushing the soil out with her abdomen, before going back down to dig some more.

By the way, watching bees do this is why many people think bees are "cute." They really are.

Here is what these Melissodes look like. (I put this female on ice for a minute to take photos):

This aggregation will only last a few weeks. Don't miss this bee-watching!