True or False? All bees live in hives.
Believe it or not, it’s false. Not all bees live in hives. Some are lucky enough to live by themselves for most of their lives! Recently, some scientists discovered a new species of solitary bees, the Osmia avosetta, that build tiny nests using flower petals for their eggs. Unlike social bees, they don’t have to share their living space. In fact, these bees live comfortably in their cozy nests from egg to adult bee.
A team of scientists discovered the O. avosettabees in the Middle East. The mother beebuilds about 10 nests within 1 to 2 days. She starts off by collecting the petals from flowers, and taking them one at a time to an underground burrow. Then she shapes the petals into a cocoon-like structure, layering them one at a time, sort of like doing paper-mâché, using nectar as glue. The nests are lined with a thin layer of mud.
A mixture of nectar and pollen is deposited into the nest for food before laying her egg down. And finally, she seals the nest shut by folding the petals over and adding another layer of mud. The nest hardens to protect the eggs from predators and the elements. In 3 to 4 days, the eggs will hatch into larvae. The larvae will feed on the nectar and hibernate until spring when it becomes an adult bee.
And then the cycle starts again. It’s the beauty of life.
photo credit: npr.org