Habropoda / digger Bee

Family: Apidae

Genus: Habropoda

Common Name: Digger Bee

APPEARANCE

Physical Appearance

Habropoda have typically fuzzy, grey or buff colored hairs on their thorax, and a darker or black colored abdomen; some species display black and grey banding.

 

Female carries pollen in a brush of specialized hairs on her hind legs.

 

Characteristics

Habropoda are very fast flyers, able to hover before landing on a flower.

 

They typically have very long tongues allowing them to obtain nectar from and pollinate deep tubular flowers.

 

Females are able to “buzz pollinate” certain flowers, including blueberry, to release their pollen – in fact, in the east, Habropoda laboriosa, is known as the Southeastern blueberry bee.

 

Size: Medium sized, robust bee, 1/2 to 3/4 inch in length.

HABITS

Distribution

Habropoda species are found across the United States, with the greatest diversity occurring along the west coast from Canada to Mexico. Only one species, Habropoda laboriosa (Southeast blueberry bee) has a significant presence east of Texas.

 

Number of species in North America

160

 

Emergence Time
Early spring to summer, depending on species

 

Nesting Habit
Ground nesting bee, often known to nest closely together. Some species are reported to prefer sandy soil.

 

Pollinated Garden Crops Include

Blueberry
Almond

Visited Plants

Arctostaphylos / Manzanita

Cercis / Redbud

Larrea / Creosote Bush

Lavandula / Lavender

Lupinus / Lupine

Monarda / Beebalm

Penstemon / Beardtongue

Phacelia / Scorpionweed

Prunus / Plum

Ribes / Currant

Salix / Willow

Salvia / Sage

Sphaeralcea / Globemallow

Vaccinium / Blueberry

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