Thursday, September 29, 2016

Leaf Cutter Bee Nest

Have you ever seen the perfect round holes cut into a broad leaf plant?  I have and I always wondered who did it?

It's the leaf cutter bee.  I have several Eastern Red Bud trees and they have very large heart shaped leaves.  Leaf cutter bees really like these leaves.

Once I saw a bee on the tree but she flew off too fast for me to get a better look.  So the photos are not mine.

But I did get these photos of the actual nest.

In one of my bee yards I have bricks on top of the hives to give weight against wind or predators.

One of these bricks has a groove in the top and I had it upsidedown.

This happened to make a perfect nest site.

Of course I never did this intentionally and discovered the nest when I lifted the brick up to do an inspection.

I used my hive tool to carefully lift up the two nests and shifted them to the hive next door while I worked on my hive.

Then while I was carefully putting everything back the way it was, mom came by.

She fussed with the leaves which I had disturbed a little bit and then she crawled into the end piece, obviously to lay an egg.

I thought she'd be a much bigger bee, but she was about the same size as a honey bee, with black and yellow stripes.

The leaves are rolled and folded like oragami.  It's amazing.  Then each leaf cup is nested into the next,.

Each cup would hold pollen and an egg which would pupate and then wait until spring to hatch.

The whole nest is very delicate because it's not glued together.

These bees are important pollinators for flowers and fruit trees.

So cool.  I put everything back very carefully.

Then I found another brick with the groove and I turned it upside down too and put it beside the other one.

Just in case she needed more room for her nest.
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