8 Jul 2010

Bee Movie in Ruscombe

Well I've talked before about the wonders of leaf cutter bees in my garden - see here their homes made in my homemade bee house - and here how to make a bee house. This film below is a few moments of a bee with leaf they had just cut - but also look at the second photo showing the inside of one of those holes in a log or bamboo..

Amazingly the bee creates a series of individual cells - as many as the space will allow.

Each cell is made from circular disks cut from plant leaves using the bee's mandibles, hence the name "Leafcutter". While the bees do not store honey, females do collect pollen which they store in the cells of their nests. Each cell contains one pollen ball and one egg. The larva develops rapidly, consuming the pollen ball and entering diapause when the pollen is fully consumed. The next spring, the mature larva pupates and completes its development. Once the bee is developed it cuts its way out from the nest. The incubation period is approximately 30 days and requires a constant temperature of greater than 30°C (86°F) - I can't remember which are laid at the back - was it male or female - anyhow the ones at the front hatch first so allowing the others out....just loved watching this bee at work...next time hope to get it making the nest...

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