Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Mystery Bee Is Not So Mysterious Any more.

A few blogs ago I mentioned a tiny Bee on the Clover flowers which seemed to be Blue… Photos I got were always poor because it never got close enough for me to snap away.

A few days later I was sat near my black Hollyhocks and the little Bee landed on one of the leaves. It promptly began eating/cutting the leaf and I assumed it was some sort of Leaf Cutting Bee.

It’s actually a Blue Mason Bee, it’s tiny and apparently they collect the leaves for their grubs…




Collecting the cut leaf into a ball against its abdomen…

And now about to set off with the ball in its mouth…

One ball abandoned as I scared one away by accident.

2 on a leaf, sometimes there were up to 4…



And here I was assuming weevils or slugs/snails were turning the leaves into rather fetching lace…

8 comments:

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Interesting. Here our Blue Orchard Mason Bees (Osmia lignaria) construct their nests of mud (hence the term 'mason', because they build mud walls between nest cells). I would have presumed a leaf-cutting bee too, rather than a Mason bee.

Liz said...

Hi CV,

I couldn't find any sort of blue leaf cutter Bees... But on this website: http://www.buckingham-nurseries.co.uk/acatalog/Mason_Bees.html

It states:
"It also uses leaf mastic rather than mud for building nests."

Which sounds about right to me. In my experience Leaf Cutter Bees cut a shape out of the leaf and carry it off, they don't mush it up and carry it in a little ball :)

Cheryl said...

Hi Liz....how interesting. I have never seen this bee.
I have leaf cutter bees in the garden......they are extremely busy at the moment. They do not leave the little ball.

You must have a nest nearby, or in your garden........how lovely.

Joanne said...

What excellent photography and an interesting post.

PatioPatch said...

Hello Liz - was amazed at these wonderful images of your little bee in action. Have never seen this before so a real treat of a post for me. I have hollyhocks so will look out for them

Laura x

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Fascinating insight into this little creature's world.

And great photos! I can't imagine how you got the right focus.

Priscilla said...

Interesting bee, great pictures :) I always see bees and hummingbirds in my garden but too fast for me to get a photograph, one day I guess! Lately tons of butterflies have been coming around, I just love them!

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Wow, Liz! Fantastic post! Now, to apologize to my slugs, I'll go and give them some beer.