The 4th birth of a Leafcutter Bee (solitary bee) - FZ200

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Mikedigi
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The 4th birth of a Leafcutter Bee (solitary bee) - FZ200
6 months ago

Its first birth was in July 2013, as an egg, wrapped by its mother with pollen and nectar in a piece of rose leaf and left in a 5/16" (8mm) diameter hole. One of a row of little leaf-wrapped mummies, like cigars, with the hole entrance sealed with more rose leaf.

Its 2nd birth was a week or so later, when it hatched out as a grub, which stayed where it was and ate the pollen and nectar.

Its 3rd birth was in the fall/autumn of 2013, when the weather, and the hole, got colder, and the grub went into hibernation as a chrysalis/pupa and began its magical metamorphosis into a bee. Distance covered so far: zero!

Around the same time, its mother died, but it did not know that.

Its 4th birth was yesterday, June 8, 2014, as a bee. It had chewed out the leaf "door" before I got there, and was looking out, reversing back in, and so on, for 5 minutes or so. It was worried, and who can blame it, having survived 11 months in a 5/16" (8mm) diameter hole?:

Then it made up its mind and moved quickly:

. . . and, without any flying lessons, just took off, moving out of focus, flew out though the 1/2" wire mesh and landed nearby on the fence, where I was too slow to catch it before it took off again.

I felt very lucky to see this. I have an array of these home-made bee houses for solitary bees, and I expected the Leadcutter Bees to start coming out, but they all come out within a day or two and it's easy to miss the whole thing.

The females will be back in mid-July to start the life cycle all over again, and will die in the fall/autumn, and so on . . .

Mike

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