Mining Bees?

I think we have mining bees. I had never even heard of such a thing until about an hour ago. However, I happened to be walking down my driveway, and I saw what I believe to be a bee that was kind of hovering/flying around a particular area. Then it flew down to the ground and disappeared into a hole in the dirt at the edge of the driveway. Its a neglected area. The plants in this section desperately need to be dug up and separated, the rock removed from around them, and some better type of ground cover added.

Here is the hole I saw:

6/22/2011 Bee Hole

Sorry, no picture of the bee itself. I haven’t seen it come back out. When I first noticed it flying around, I assumed it was a regular bee, but didn’t look that closely. I was just trying to stay out of it’s circle of flight, as bees kind of freak me out. I’m not allergic and I don’t think I’ve ever been stuck, but I give them their space anyway. I often see them flying around the lavender at the edge of the front porch.

However, I am only about 70 percent sure that it was a bee. I also read that there is a type of yellow jacket or hornet that makes holes in the ground too, but I am not sure if they look the same. I am usually on the watch for wasps though, so I think I would have noticed if it was something that did not look like a bee.

Fingers crossed for bees. I’m less scared of them than I would be of hornets or yellow jackets or any kind of wasp. Ick.