Eusocial Furrow Bees

There has been a good bit of agricultural disturbance in both of the large bee aggregation sites here in the housing development. The lower Hay field got mowed last week. I went down to look around to see if there is any new bee activity since the mowing but found none. It may sound crazy that I looked and commented but up here among the houses there is new nesting activity in areas scraped by the grader blade and or front loader bucket in less than a week after the equipment is done.

Yesterday I went out to where the closer and largest bee aggregation is to find out who was building new nests now. The landscape crew put in a new planting next to the road disturbing the ground where the bees nest. I'm fascinated by both how soon after the disturbance the bees move into the disturbed areas and the succession of species living next door to each other in the same ground. As the April Andrena were finishing the last of their brood cells the June Andrena a much smaller species was moving into abandoned but open nest holes formerly used by the April Andrena as well as excavating new holes of their own.

Drag the progress bar to the 8 minute mark and hit play You will see Little Bee poking its head out briefly as Big Bee begins coming out of her nest. Both Bees are different species of Andrena

Now we have Eusocial Furrow Bees nesting in the same ground the other two species were in earlier. This video is much longer. 30 minutes is the size limit set by my camera and I posted the hole thing. I'm still working on the log of arrivals, departures and bee heads peeking out of the hole from each off the 3 nests in the image, the log is in the bottom link. I'm using the log to try and figure out the minimum number of bees living in each hole.

@beespeaker @wenatcheeb @augustjackson

Publicado por little_mousie little_mousie, 14 de julio de 2022


Good observations! Thank you.

Publicado por wenatcheeb hace 5 meses (Marca)

I was back out at the same place that I was videoing yesterday recording mostly more of the same looking to see how homogenous it was. I saw something quite different.

There was a male of the species sitting on assorted blades of grass & weeds pestering all of the females who flew by. At one point he flew in and caught a female that had just emerged from the nest I was recording. This Bee Ball is trimmed out of that recording.

I don't know if this specific female was reproductive or not, but he must have mated with more than a few sterile bees. Do the Queens come out of the nest to forage or are all their meals catered by staff?

Publicado por little_mousie hace 5 meses (Marca)

I think that when the females kick the males off or when they are carrying pollen around in their scopa they can be considered mated.

The Solitary Bees by Bryan Danforth might enlighten us more, I remember reading or maybe nearing about the different types of eusocial behavior. In some it depends upon the weather and altitude, so more colonies when there are plenty of provisions and a longer season. higher up in the mountains they might just be single mothers...

I searched "Halictus sociality" and these are the three first things that popped up. Reading technical papers isn't easy--lots of jargon to plow through...

The social organisation of Halictus ligatus (Hymenoptera › doi › pdf

Nesting biology and phenology of a population of Halictus ... › article

Colony Social Organisation of Halictus confusus in Southern ...

Publicado por wenatcheeb hace 5 meses (Marca)

ooh links 💖 Thank You.

I think I saw a paper go by that talked about the reproductive advantage a male can gain by mating with previously mated females but I don't remember where I put it or saw it. When I count departures and returns on a nest and there are 4 or more bees living down 1 hole then at least 3 of the 4 are sterile as long as they remain under the influence of the queens pheromones. They may revert to reproductive if they leave their nest and found a new one. Many of the females were sterile. I know the queen must forage to provision the first brood. The question I did a pour job of asking is does she participate in foraging while the 2nd brood is being provisioned or is she the guard who stays behind in the nest that @beespeaker was telling me about to try and keep the parasites out of the nest.

Chemical Variation among Castes, Female Life Stages and Populations of the Facultative Eusocial Sweat Bee Halictus rubicundus (Hymenoptera: Halictidae)

Publicado por little_mousie hace 5 meses (Marca)


After reading the information you so graciously provided. I think my original encounter with the local Furrow Bee was while the soon to be queen bees were raising their 1st brood.. Last evening I went back to the original aggregation where I met the Furrow Bees and saw renewed nesting activity. I think what confused me was watching the first brood and the time elapsed between then and now.

There is a Zen in watching the bees and what is going on at the nest I don't get watching them foraging the flowers. Creating the activity logs for the recordings deepens the connection.

I thought I saw nest founding activity a few nights back but now question the memory. I should have stopped and made a recording but didn't want to disturb the work. It could have been the parasitic wasp laying an egg, or an orphaned worker founding a nest. The wasps are enough different that I should have noticed so maybe I should trust the memory.

If I'm now looking at the 2nd brood, it raises other questions about the male I saw and the Bee Balls. Was he that long lived or did he come from the 1st brood. Does the founding queen need to copulate a 2nd time to raise a 2nd brood? How did he get there and why did he come at this time, or as he been an unnoticed pest to the females the whole time?

More reeding to do....

Publicado por little_mousie hace 5 meses (Marca)

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