I was walking over to my car in the driveway the other day and spotted these mounded holes in the ground between my house and driveway. My heart nearly leaped out of my chest thinking about what they possibly could be. Everything from some sort of aggressive yellow jackets, giant termites to whatever else was big enough to call that hole a home. I stood there there for what seemed to be an eternity waiting to see what went in and out of any of the holes and if they were aggressive. I wondered also how I was going to get away if they didn't fancy me hovering over whatever these things were. All I know is I was a bit scared.
After a bit a of waiting a larger bee flew into one of the holes. It looked like a cross between a bumble bee and a honeybee. It had fine stripes on its abdomen and was mostly built like one but much larger. It never even cared that I stood within a couple of feet of the entrance to its "home". I just needed to find out what these were and if they were harmful.
After some research I found it is called a Miner or Digger Bee. Its a common name given to many varieties of solitary bees that burrow into the ground. Its a beneficial insect and should not harm us. Whew! The one pictured in the link above is the one that I found that looked the closest to the ones here. I couldn't get a good picture of the buggers, so I'm at a loss for that. It would nice to have a high speed camera for times such as this.
Upon further reading I found out they really like "lean" areas of your yard where its fairly dry. They usually will only stick around for 6 weeks or so while they raise their young and then leave. I'm happy they are here to help because I can use all of the help I can get