Leafcutter Bee Cell
Congratulations to those who recognized yesterday’s Mystery Photo! The tiny green cells are made from the leaves of almost any deciduous trees, and are cut and folded by leafcutter bees (Megachile genus). These solitary bees are about the size of a honeybee, but are much darker, almost black. They construct cigar-like nests (often in soil, holes in wood made by other insects, or plant stems) that contain several cells. After gathering and storing a ball, or loaf, of pollen inside the cell, the bee lays an egg and seals the cell shut. When the egg hatches, the larval bee feeds on the pollen and eventually spins a cocoon and pupates within it. An adult bee emerges from the cocoon and usually overwinters inside the cell. In the spring the bee chews its way out of the cell. Leafcutter bees pollinate wildflowers, fruits and vegetables and are also used as pollinators by commercial growers of blueberries, onions, carrots and alfalfa. (Photo submitted by Jan Gendreau.)
This entry was posted on July 6, 2012 by Mary Holland. It was filed under Adaptations, Animal Signs, Arthropods, Bees, Egg laying, Hymenoptera, Insect Eggs, Insect Signs, Insects, Invertebrates, June, Leaves, Metamorphosis, Mystery Photo Submissions, Plants and was tagged with Bees, Hymenoptera, Insect Metamorphosis, Leafcutter bee, Megachile, Megachilidae, Pollinators, Solitary Bees.