Thursday, 8 July 2010
When Grace Sheppard was here, she was sitting in our garden early when she witnessed a bee alight on our amerlanchia bush next to her and proceed to saw a neat round hole in a leaf and fly off with it. We looked it up in our insect book and found out about this fascinating behaviour. It was a female leaf-cutter bee, making its nest. It rolls up its cut-up leaves to make single-cells in a tunnel, lays an egg in the bottom, provisions it with honey and pollen, seals it with a leaf, and then makes another cell and so on. All the eggs are female, except the last one. Which she seals in and then she goes off and dies. The eggs hatch and become larvae enjoying their late mum's larder, hibernate through the winter and next year begin to emerge, the male first who then hangs around on a convenient 'street corner' until the females arrive eager for him to do his stuff...! And so it goes on - marvellous. You can see good pictures on http://www.moraybeekeepers.co.uk/solitary_bees.htm, but this one is from our garden.