Observing a Halictus Nest

Observing a Halictus Nest

On 30th March 2014, I observed a small hole (~3-4mm in diameter) in soil near the brinjal garden at our field station in Orissa. It was around 14:00 hours. I was just about to investigate the hole more closely when a small bee appeared in the vicinity, flying haphazardly around the hole. The flight was so rapid that I couldn’t observe the bee properly; hence I decided to take some pictures of it. But again I failed because of it moved so quickly. The only way to see it properly was by video recording the action, which I did. After playing the video in slow motion, I clearly saw that the bee had a metallic green coloured head and thorax with a darker abdomen. The ‘Rima’ was clear in the video.

sequence

I then waited a little longer in order to observe their behaviour. Bees came out of the nest in a batch of 3-4 individuals, one by one and then after a while, another 3-4 (or the same) individuals came back to the nest with most of the collected pollen stacked around their hind legs. This process repeated many times. Next morning I collected one of the specimens and it was identified as Halictus spp. This is the first time I have located the ground nest of a bee!

Parthib Basu

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