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Word of the Week: Aggregation
April 18, 2019 by Haya Aldoori

Welcome to Word of the Week! Stay tuned for a new word each Friday to amp up your nature vocabulary!

Tickle Bee

Aggregation [ag-ri-GEY-shuh n] (noun): a collection, or the gathering of somethings together.

This fun word comes from the Latin words ad, meaning to, and gregare, meaning herd.

The warmer days have brought our old friends, the tickle bees, back out to fly about! These solitary bees make individual nests in the ground, digging tunnels that exit through small round holes. Despite their solitary status, these bees tend to nest in aggregations; building their nests near one another.

We like to call them tickle bees because of how these friendly bees feel when they land on your skin. They are especially great with the kids who attend our programs because it’s an awesome way for them to experience pollinators while learning that not all bees have the ability to sting!

Although the term “tickle bees” is super fun, it’s more like a nickname that we like to use. These bees actually go by the common names “cellophane bee” or “plasterer bee” because of their ability to produce a waterproof material which resembles clear plastic (when dry). They will use their unusual forked tongues, to paint the plastic-like material onto their nest walls in order to keep their nests dry. The bees produce the material from a special abdominal organ called the Dufour’s gland, named after French naturalist Léon Jean Marie Dufour.

Keep an eye out for these important pollinators of spring trees and wildflowers on your next High Park visit and, if you’re really interested in exploring the world of tickle bees, or other bees, consider joining our free Wild Bee Club!

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