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Cellophane Bees | Outdoors My Window

Cellophane bee in Might (picture from Wikimedia Commons)

2 Might 2023

On a hike at Hays Woods final week with Jared Belsky of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy we noticed odd holes on a naked spot of floor, every one surrounded by a mud cone formed like a tiny volcano. I may inform they the place in all probability made by bugs however which of them?

Cellophane bee holes at Hays Woods, 24 April 2023. My foot is within the picture for scale (picture by Kate St. John)

Jared informed me they’re the holes of cellophane bees that had been constructed in March.

Cellophane bees (Colletes inaequalis) are the primary bees of spring, typically rising whereas there’s nonetheless snow on the bottom. They’re members of the group referred to as “plasterer bees” (Colletes sp.) described by Wikipedia under:

The genus Colletes (plasterer bees) is a big group of ground-nesting bees of the household Colletidae that happen primarily within the Northern Hemisphere. They are usually solitary, however typically nest shut collectively in aggregations. Species within the genus construct cells in underground nests which might be lined with a cellophane-like plastic secretion, a real polyester, incomes them the nickname polyester bees.

Wikipedia account: Colletes

Now that it’s Might it’s too late to see cellophane bees making holes, nevertheless it’s not too late to find out about them and be prepared to observe them subsequent March.

(video by Nick Dorian on YouTube)

p.s. Cellophane was invented in 1912 and polyester in 1928 so these frequent names of plasterer bees are solely a century outdated.

(bee picture from Wikimedia Commons, holes picture by Kate St. John, embedded video by Nick Dorian on YouTube on YouTube)

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