ground burrowing bug
I was just curious if someone could tell me what this little guy (or gal) is? Is it a bee, wasp, hornet, neither? He (or she) plays peek- a-boo with me whenever I walk by, scurrying down into it’s little hole in the ground when I get close, but when I got out the camera to try and sneak up on it, it seemed to pose for these pictures. Anyway, I live in Wilmington, NC and would appreciate any info. Thanks!

Hi TC,
This is one of our native Digger Bees, but we don’t feel comfortable with providing you with the tribe nor species. We will contact Eric Eaton to see if he can provide additional information.

Update: (03/25/2008)
Hi, Daniel:
Ok, to answer your questions. the digger bee from North Carolina is a “plasterer bee” in the genus Colletes. They are solitary, each female digging her own nest burrow, but they often nest in dense aggregations that make it appear they are social. The bee secretes a type of organic plastic with which she lines each cell in her burrow. The nectar and pollen she stores for her offspring are in a more liquid state than in most bees, so the plastic “baggie” helps keep it fresh and fungus-free. She suspends one egg from the ceiling of each cell, over the pool of food. The larva that hatches then consumes the meal. Colletes are important native pollinators of many flowers and trees, like redbud.
Keep up the great work, but don’t forget to rest, too.

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