What is it: Dieunomia bees

Have you seen groups of small sandy mounds such as this and wondered what was in there?

Dieunomia heteropoda mounds. Image credit: Alicia Hughes, Bethune Academy, FL.

A solitary halictid bee known as Dieunomia heteropoda may be living inside with her brood. The mounds are created when a Dieunomia female bee digs an underground hive in which to live and lay her eggs.

Dieunomia heteropoda adult bee. Image credit: Lyle Buss, UF.

When you think of bees you probably think of honey bees that have a highly ordered social system and live in an aboveground hive. Dieunomia bees, in contrast, live alone and build their hives below ground.

Dieunomia heteropoda mound entrance. Image credit: Lyle Buss, UF.

Surface of Dieunomia heteropoda mound with pen knife for scale. Image credit: Lyle Buss, UF.

You may see Dieunomia bees visiting flowers to gather pollen from July to October. These bees only eat pollen from flowers in the aster family (Asteraceae), such as daisies and coneflowers. They are not pest insects and no management is required if you see them. Females may sting, but are not aggressive.

If you’d like to learn more about halictid bees such as Dieunomia, please visit the following University of Florida Featured Creature article: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/bees/halictid_bees.htm

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