Mining for miner bees

Miner Bee disturbed from her mine

When I was digging up some of the swallow-wort yesterday, I got an unexpectedly close-up look at one of the little brown bees I’ve seen darting around down on the ground and up in the fruit trees. Plus this was near an area of ground that stays bare and hard, and in the summer I usually see lots of little holes. I’ve wondered whether that was from ants or bees.

Now, I’m pretty sure that’s a bee nesting zone, because that’s where I dug up a miner bee (Andrena dunningi according to the Bugguide experts.) It was cool and cloudy, so she crawled away slowly, but I don’t think I hurt her. Unless you want to count however many nest tunnels I must have broken up. Oops.