Bee of the Month – Diadasia rinconis
Also known as the "mallow-loving digger bee," these stout-bodied, medium-sized bees have rounded heads, perfect for digging, and are densely covered with velvety hairs. Both sexes are light brown with striped abdomens, and females are larger than their male counterparts. Like most other digger bees, the females of this species are solitary and soil-nest in areas of bare, flat ground. Diadasia rinconis is one of 8 Diadasia species recorded visiting urban gardens, and one of 20 total recorded species in California. They have a flight season between April and August.
For pollen, females of this genera specialize in plants of the mallow family (hence the nickname), but D. rinconis can be found at this time of year foraging almost exclusively in flowers of Opuntia sp. and is sometimes called the “cactus bee” for this reason. Females transport pollen in scopae on their hind legs, but are much less selective about their nectar sources.