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Michener (1966) describes the biology of Lasioglossum versatum from nests collected in eastern Kansas, USA. This is a small (5.5-6.5 mm long) greenish black bee that is widespread in eastern North America and constructs nests by burrowing into the soil. Nests are apparently reused (but not cells), with new tunnels being dug to the surface each spring.

This species is eusocial with multiple queens. Several mated queens (at least 5 to 10, probably more) overwinter in each nest and provision offspring in mid-April which mature and serve as workers in June. New queens and males are produced at the end of the summer (August and September). Nests may contain as many as 100 females (queens and workers) even though workers are short-lived (perhaps less than three weeks). Nests excavated in early June averaged 12.3 brood cells in use; nests from mid-July averaged 38.2 cells, and those from early August averaged 77.5 cells. Many workers are mated and/or have enlarged ovaries, suggesting that there is not a strict reproductive division of labor between the queens and workers, even though the workers are generally non-reproductive. Queens are generally, but not always, larger than workers (and individuals with characteristics intermediate between castes are also intermediately sized).

This bee's nest architecture is described by Sakagami and Michener (1962): Nest architecture is Type IIIb: Lateral burrows are very short or absent such that cells are almost attached to the burrow walls at a right angle. The cells are not spatially concentrated in any part of the burrow. Nests, but not cells, are re-used by subsequent generations. Nest aggregation information: One or two dozen nests in an area 20 cm. in diameter.


Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smith, Adam

Source: Halictidae

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