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Native Bee Observation House Fun!

November 14, 2016 thebeeswaggle

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Our new bee house had many nesters across the US this year, and we enjoyed receiving pictures from many of you who joined in on the fun!

Isodontia: The Grass Carrying Solitary Wasp

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This lovely wasp often thought our house was the perfect nesting site for her young.  This species of wasp uses grass to partition between egg cells, and she collects insects for her young to feed on once they hatch from their eggs.  Wasps are not always aggressive, just as bees are not always aggressive.  Isodontia is a solitary nester, which means she flies solo on all tasks related to raising her young.  For this reason, she is less likely to feel defensive, as her nest contains a few young developing in a row, protected inside a tube structure, rather than open to the world as the paper wasp chooses to nest.

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Many of this house’s rows are filled in with Isodontia rows.  The grass is pretty obvious, and the green pieces you see are insects waiting to be devoured by the Isodontia larva.  The white fuzzy stuff is the cocoon of the maturing adult.  Isodontia can have many generations from spring to fall, so the top rows in this house are representative of this fact.  The take home message here is, wasps aren’t all bad, in fact they are the best biological control of pest insects.  For more on this fascinating species of wasps, click here.

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Osmia: Mason Bees as Residents

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Mason bees are also cavity nesting bees, and they found this house quite suitable in various locations across the US! They use mud to partition between egg cells, as is shown in this photo above.

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By the end of the summer each partition contains a cocoon, such as the ones in the photo above, each of which containing a hibernating adult destined to emerge next spring.  For more on the Mason Bee, click here.

Megachile: Leafcutter Residents

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Leafcutter bees get their name from using half-moon shaped cuts out of broad leafed plants to fashion the perfectly, fairy-like, egg cell.  Follow this link for more about the leafcutter bee.

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Inside this leafy package is a ball of nectar and pollen collected by mother leafcutter bee to feed her developing young.  Once these bees develop into adulthood, they hibernate until the following summer, when they will emerge and repeat the entire process all over again.

Thank you to all who submitted photos to us this year!  We are looking forward to many more adventures with you.

We created a special edition for the holidays this year! Did you know holly berries are first flowers that are pollinated by bees to become berries?

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You can get your own native bee house, holiday edition or just the standard one, by clicking here.

Thank you for joining the movement!

Jessica





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