Monday, 23 June 2008

Leaf cutter bees

I noticed the leaf cutter bees were visiting the plant again yesterday. Even though it was quite windy, the wind was from the south and so they were realatively sheltered. Today, the weather is sunny and calm and the bees are busy again today. As soon as the bee lands on the leaf it starts to cut with its mandibles.
As the bee cuts the leaf, the section is rolled up beneath the bees body. the whole process takes less than 30 seconds. The bee then lands for a minute or so before heading of to make another chamber to its nest.
Leaf cutter bees dig a tunnel underground and use the rolled leaf segments to make individual nest chambers. Each contains an egg and a ball of pollen as food. The leaf cutter bees in my garden have choisen to make a nest in one of the window boxes again. The soil has dried and pulled away from the side. The bee enters this gap and crawls down to the botton where the nest chamber begins.

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