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Underground Bees

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. A student in our new master gardener training class brought a video taken on February the twelfth  showing of a large number of bees flying around small holes in her yard. What we were seeing  was one of the many types of ground nesting bees whose mothers last year found a patch of soil that was relatively dry and had sparse vegetation (i.e., not a lush, green lawn).

Those female bees excavated a small hole with branches ending in individual cells which were provisioned with bee bread made from pollen and nectar and where they laid their eggs. The eggs hatched, larvae ate the nutritious food, pupated and became adults, all the while staying in that underground protected chamber, waiting for weather warm enough to emerge and forage for food. They’re solitary bees and not a threat to us or pets. 

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.