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Leafcutter Bee Nest

Megachile sp.

Description:

I was pruning a Sodom Apple tree (Calotropis procera) in my garden, when I noticed bougainvillea bracts tucked inside the end of one of the dead branches (Pic #3). My husband then noticed the same thing on two other branches still on the tree. Curious, I broke the branch and was surprised to find these pretty pink packages lined up inside the hollow for about 10 cm. Pic #4 shows the obviously cutout bracts that were sealing the opening. We placed the little package back inside the branch, placed it on the ground under the tree, and left the other two dead branches on the tree. Feeling bad about the disturbance I caused, but we'd never seen anything like that before. After some research, we are guessing they are the cells of leafcutter bee nest. The wiki has this to say: "Nests are typically divided into cells, each cell receives a supply of food (pollen or a pollen/nectar mix) and an egg; after finding a suitable spot (often near where she emerged), a female starts building a first cell, stocks it, and oviposits. Then she builds a wall that separates the completed cell from the next one. Nests are often (but not always) built in natural or artificial cavities. Nest cavities are often linear, for example in hollow plant stems, but not always."

Notes:

Last 2 images uploaded May 20 and show an adult that was visiting one of the hollow branches, perhaps scouting out a good place for her own nest?

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18 Comments

Bernadette S
Bernadette S 7 years ago

Yes, cute, isn't she?! The entrance of the hollow is now sealed. Time to wait. :-)

injica
injica 7 years ago

:))) Wow cute little bee!

LaurenZarate
LaurenZarate 7 years ago

Wow Bernadette, super! Mama came back to keep working! Beautiful little face looking out...

Bernadette S
Bernadette S 7 years ago

Added 2 new photos of what I found when checking on the nests outside today!

Bernadette S
Bernadette S 7 years ago

Thank you, Harsha!

Harsha Singh
Harsha Singh 7 years ago

Interesting spotting.

Bernadette S
Bernadette S 7 years ago

Thanks for the tips, Lauren. I have moved it to a clear glass jar instead of the box. We'll have to see who emerges first - the ones indoors or outdoors!

LaurenZarate
LaurenZarate 7 years ago

You could compensate a little for the circadian differences for being inside if you put it in a clear plastic container with gauze on top instead of a box. Also if you keep it in the kitchen but not in direct sunlight you will see it every day and not forget to check on it. Temperature is not so crucial really, if it is cooler inside, than the larvae will just develop a little more slowly. Can't wait to see what comes out!

Hema
Hema 7 years ago

Exotic architecture! comfortable and attractive.

That is so wonderful !

Bernadette S
Bernadette S 7 years ago

Thank you, VivBraznell!

Bernadette S
Bernadette S 7 years ago

Lauren - I had thought about bringing the one branch inside but wasn't sure about change in sunlight/temperature. But I wouldn't want parasites to get them! So, after your message, I found the one branch that I had broken and it is now inside in a box next to two butterfly pupas that I'd also brought inside. Hopefully we'll see what emerges! Thanks. :-)

VivBraznell
VivBraznell 7 years ago

What an interesting find! Lovely series of pics

LaurenZarate
LaurenZarate 7 years ago

Hi Bernadette, I was thinking about your comment that you hope to see the bee that emerges. Maybe you could bring one of the little branches inside, put it in a large jar with a gauze covering and wait for the bees to emerge. You'll protect them from parasitism and can then let them go. It would be wonderful to add a picture of the bee to this spotting.

injica
injica 7 years ago

Yeah especially petals combined with bright wood, I think they have quite a taste for interior design ;D

Bernadette S
Bernadette S 7 years ago

Thanks! Not only a comfortable nest, but a beautiful color, right?! I loved the contrast against the white of the dead branches. And I'm eager to see the bees that emerge.

LaurenZarate
LaurenZarate 7 years ago

Very neat find and so interesting...

injica
injica 7 years ago

Wow, interesting story! Well they are building the most comfortable nest with petals ;)

Bernadette S
Spotted by
Bernadette S

دهب, جنوب سيناء, Egypt

Spotted on May 12, 2013
Submitted on May 12, 2013

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Reference