miked's picture


Observed: 27th March 2011 By: miked
iSpot team
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thousands of these little mounds with a hole in the middle, what was living there? there were some small bees around but they did not go into the holes at least not while i was watching. they were all over a dried out area of pond.


No identification made yet.

Species interactions

No interactions present.


corylus's picture

little holes

I would say mining bees but agree it is strange that none entered hope some one else can tell us.Had you been eating lots of garlic like someone I know?

Hazel Trevan

anonymous spotter's picture

Some solitary wasps -

also create holes like this. As Corylus points out, it is unusual not to see activity around them.
The way that the owners find the holes appears to be by recognising "landmarks" such as twigs or stones: if they've been disturbed it could confuse the beasts - but this seems unlikely on a large scale.
It's equally possible that they are the exit holes from some matured larvae(not sure of what!) that have left home: that would explain the lack of activity, I guess.

Martin Harvey's picture


How long did you spend watching Mike?! I've sometimes been frustrated at the apparent lack of activity around what appear to be quite large colonies of bee holes. I think in some cases it is just that the bees are small and very quick, and tend to use the holes you're not looking at! (Not entirely a flippant comment, they can be very sensitive to any movement or shadow near their nest holes.)

These do look like bee nests to me, and I'd guess it is either Andrena or Lasioglossum bees that have made these, both of which genera have some species that are active in the early spring.

I always assume that these fresh, domed piles of earth are made by adults constructing new nests rather than larvae emerging from old ones, would be good to know if anyone can confirm that.

Entomologist and biological recorder

miked's picture

Martin, Perhaps I could send

Perhaps I could send you over there to spend lunchtime watching as they are only about 1km from the office. There were some tiny bees on a bank 100m or so away that I did spend ages trying to photograph but failed as they kept moving on just at the vital moment.