Convo with Megan Mack: Bees 101

Matt Kelly,
Photo: Matt Kelly

Here’s a recent conversation I had with Megan Mack on WXXI Connections in Rochester, NY. (It was my turn to answer questions instead of asking them.) We spent the hour talking Bees 101, which included topics such as recognizing the wide variety of bees in North America, bee stings (noun and verb), the importance of bees to our food system, how to make space for bees in our yards and gardens, and how to recognize when something is not a bee (like a wasp or fly). Also, there are a couple important corrections that need to be made regarding our conversation; see below.

WXXI Connections PLAY Bees 101


First: During the show, I briefly mentioned Diadasia and its nesting habits. Unfortunately, I described the nesting habits of Agapostemon virescens instead of Diadasia. To clarify:

Agapostemon virescens is a solitary bee but it nests in a communal fashion. A female will make an individual burrow underneath the ground but invite other bees of its same species to build burrows using the same nest entrance. It’s like a condo, where the occupants enter through a common entrance but all live in their own individual units. Agapostemon virescens can be found across North America, and is the official bee of Toronto, ON.

Diadasia, on the other hand, will nest in large aggregations but each female builds her own nest with its own entrance. The entrance is an earthen turret that sticks up above the ground. These aggregations can consist of several dozen to several thousand individual nests. Diadasia is typically found in the southwestern U.S.

Diadasia - 12_Joe WIlson 960x
Turret entrances in an aggregation of Diadasia. / Photo: Joe Wilson

And second: I’m not a farmer. I live on a farm, have worked on farms, and have written plenty about farms. But not worthy of the title itself.