Burrowing Halictus bees on campus

During lunchtime, my labmate rushed into our office and announced that my supervisor was looking at many Halictus sp. bees outside the building!  I initially thought of the Colletes bees I saw more than three weeks at Gatineau Park, but these bees were just searching for nests and not mating.  I quickly stopped eating, grabbed my camera, and asked my labmate to show me the way.

Indeed, there were at least thirty bees flying on a little patch of soil just outside the building, and my supervisor apparently saw a parasitoid wasp earlier as well.  I can't believe I did not see any of this while walking by this morning.  I then sat on the ground (with my back turned to all the people walking by during lunchtime) and started taking pictures of bees burrowing into the soil.

Halictus sp. (family Halictidae)
I have many photos of bee butt sticking out in the air.

Halictus sp. (family Halictidae)
Several bees had an incredible amount of pollen on their body.  There were only three dandelion flower heads next to the soil, so my labmate and I wondered where the bees had been foraging.

This bee had so much pollen that it had to rub some off.

Halictus sp. (family Halictidae)
Beautiful golden leg hair.

The type of image I wanted to photograph was of a bee flying into or out of a burrow.  But the bees were too fast for me to do so.  I ended with a lot of blurry dirt photos.  This image above was interesting because there are two bees different doing things.

Halictus sp. (family Halictidae)
A bee taking off.

Halictus sp. (family Halictidae)
Resting on the ground.

Halictus sp. (family Halictidae)
Coming out of the burrow.

Halictus sp. (family Halictidae)
Not yet ready to come out of the burrow.

Halictus sp. (family Halictidae)

I am not certain what species this is, although one guess would be H. rubicundus (wikipedia page).  

Just another day being in a research lab where we are more interested in the little creatures than anything else (e.g., lunch, strange stares from passersby, etc).  Have a nice weekend.

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