Tuesday, July 13, 2010


A bed of petals

It was recently discovered that the female bees from a rare species of solitary bees, found in the Middle East, use petals from pink, yellow, blue and purple flowers to construct their nest chambers. The female of the Osima avosetta, builds one or two vertical nests, close to the surface of, or between 1.5 and 5 cm below, the ground. Starting at the bottom, she lines each chamber with a layer of overlapping petals, she uses a thin layer of claylike mud, about 0.5 mm thick, as plaster and then adds another layer of petals. When the structure is completed, a sticky mixture of pollen and nectar is placed on the chamber’s floor that secures the egg that she is about to lay. Afterwards the chamber is carefully closed, by folding the petals at the top and capping it with a mud plug. The nest, often referred to as a ‘petal sandwich’ is built in complete darkness. Besides providing nutrients for the larvae to grow and eventually spin a cocoon, the petal chamber offers protection during their 10 month-long hibernation period. The nests need to be protected against molds, viruses, bacteria and predators, such as parasitic wasps and from physical factors like excessive heat.

via eurekaalert.com

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