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Old 08-02-2011, 11:49 AM   #11
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Megachile - leaf-cutter bee

At bug Guide a picture of a leaf cutter bee showing pollen over the abdomen underside. If you have seen a bee walking fast in a circular motion on the blossom and wondered what it was doing? Gathering pollen on the hairs on its legs and belly. No leg pouches on some bees.This makes them very efficient pollinators on plants with many disk flowers like sunflowers and coneflowers and aster and such (composits).They can spin around on all those anthers sticking up full of pollen .

Megachile? - Megachile centuncularis - BugGuide.Net

A very cool video of a leafcutter bee cutting the circle of leaf then placing into nest. Arkive has great stuff.

ARKive - Megachile leaf-cutter bee video - Megachile centuncularis - 00

About composites.

http://www.backyardnature.net/fl_comps.htm

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As the diagram at the right shows, the amazing thing that composites have done is to miniaturize and simplify each flower, then pack a number of these tiny flowers on their ends next to one another, on a platform called a receptacle, and finally to organize the whole resulting cluster so that the many flowers look like just one flower. In other words the sunflower at the top of this page, is actually a collection of hundreds of flowers!
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Old 08-02-2011, 11:51 AM   #12
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Fascinating. So easy to anthropomorphize while watching...
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Old 08-03-2011, 02:12 PM   #13
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Sweat bee nests sights are interesting. Has anyone spotted a digger bee hole?
In one video the camera person pulls back so that you can see how small the entrance hole can be.
In the other the dirt is piling high so several bees must be sharing and entrance creating a regular colony in there. Each with its own apartment condo style...lol




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Old 08-04-2011, 12:53 PM   #14
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Megachilidae
osmia
blue Orchad mason bee
Blue Orchard Mason Bee, Osmia lignaria - Apiculture ? Bees and Pollinators ? BC Ministry of Agriculture

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The Orchard Mason Bee appears black but is actually dark metallic green/blue in color. The female is approximately 14 mm in length, robust in appearance resembling a black fly.
The male is smaller and more slender, and about 11-12 mm in length. Males are characterized by their long antennae and a tuft of light colored hair in the front of the head.
At rest, the bee has its wings flush with its body. Osmia bees are effective pollinators because of their pubescence or hairiness. This enables them to carry pollen grains from flower to flower, causing pollination to take place.
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Similarly to honeybees, Orchard Mason Bees gather nectar in their ‘honey sac’ while foraging. The nectar is used as energy source and to provision the tubular nest.
Unlike honeybees, Orchard Mason Bees do not have specially modified hind legs called corbicula to store and carry pollen. Instead, pollen is packed underneath rows of stiff hairs called scopa under the abdomen.
Osmia bees are solitary insects and complete their lifecycle on their own. Most species are gregarious in that they nest close together. This behavior offers several advantages such as lower predation pressures, increased mating opportunity, and optimized genetic variability through cross breeding. It is this gregarious behavior that has offered the opportunity to “domesticate” the Orchard Mason Bee.
The female Mason bee lives for about one month in the spring and she can produce one or two eggs a day. One tubular nest contain 7 - 11 cells where those laid first, in the back of the tube will develop into females while the few cells nearest to the entrance will be males
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A few days after the egg has been laid, the larva will hatch and will start feeding on the nectar and pollen reserves. The larva grows very rapidly and after 10 - 14 days most food reserves have been consumed. The larva will spin a cocoon and pupate. Later in the summer, the pupa will develop into an adult and will stay in the cell throughout the winter.
In early spring when the first warm days occur, male Osmia Bees will first emerge. They chew their way through the mud plug with their strong mandibles. The males will stay near the tubular nests and wait for females to emerge. As soon as females appear, the males will attempt to mate. There is fierce competition between males and sometimes, a female is covered by a number of struggling males.
As their name indicates, Osmia Bees need access to mud. If a source is readily available near the nests, the females can be spared a great deal of time and labor. A patch of soil can be kept moist or a small bucket or tray can be filled with wetted soil.
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Old 08-04-2011, 04:56 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Gloria View Post
Very informative. I put up a purchased mason bee house, but had no takers. I don't think I have any here. Now, I do have pear and apple and blueberry plants, so they would have plenty to pollinate if they would make the yard their home.

On a somewhat unrealated note: It seems all of these bee information sheets I've been reading imply that females make the world go round and that males have one purpose and then become loafers. I'm getting a complex.

This information on top of the fact that the AP senior English class I'll be teaching in the fall has 17 girls and 3 boys signed up. Now, these are the brightest and most achievement oriented kids in the school. What is one to do with this gender inequality???

What with the male of the game, lately??????
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Old 08-10-2011, 10:16 AM   #16
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Give it time, it may take a couple of years for the bees to find your house but they will. You could buy mason bees but who knows where they came from and what they carry.
Do you have a nearby source of mud for the bees to use?
Go check out a science or math class and see if the boy wonders are there. My son and now grandson excelled in those subjects. My son was never into literature. First year of high school in his advance english class the teacher told me she thought he was out of his league because he was very quiet and did not participate. I showed her his grades in all other classes plus tests results to get into the school. She kept him in the class and pushed his butt to join in class discussions. It worked and his grades improved but he was still always a math geek.
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Old 08-10-2011, 11:12 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by jack View Post
I'm getting a complex.
LOL!

Just keep in mind that there are a few males that take care of their young--seahorses and bettas come to mind. So, we're not *all* bad... ....just most of us?!?

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This information on top of the fact that the AP senior English class I'll be teaching in the fall has 17 girls and 3 boys signed up. Now, these are the brightest and most achievement oriented kids in the school. What is one to do with this gender inequality???


What with the male of the game, lately??????
That is quite an odd make up. I'm sure you'll figure it out though.

Glad to see you are a bit humbled...but don't let it become a complex!
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Old 08-10-2011, 12:23 PM   #18
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LOL!

Just keep in mind that there are a few males that take care of their young--seahorses and bettas come to mind. So, we're not *all* bad... ....just most of us?!?



That is quite an odd make up. I'm sure you'll figure it out though.

Glad to see you are a bit humbled...but don't let it become a complex!
The valedictorians at the high school for the past ten years have been girls. I think all of the salutatorians have also. And, looking for excellence in a math or physics class also doesn't change the complexion. In addition, I think true education isn't specialized in a single science or math. Without the ability to read difficult material, students limit themselves for a lifetime. Being able to figure numerical problems without being able to judge the philosophical reasons for their ultimate use sets one up to be the tool of another.

I've known this about the gender issue in the schools for awhile, but it was only after I became interested in insects that I realized the female of the species is usually the important player, with the male simple the sperm provider...
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Old 08-10-2011, 02:12 PM   #19
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Jack, I agree with you completely about reading and comprehending difficult material and today my son would as well. Which is why I was glad she did not recommend sending him back to a regular english class but instead took steps to encourage his interest.
But don't disparage the male's role in the insect world. All energy goes toward reproduction. Laying eggs or fertilizing them its all the same goal. Unfertilized eggs are always male. After mating the female can determine which eggs are fertilized therefor determining the sex of the egg. Male female neither role is subordinate in importance to the other.
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Old 08-10-2011, 04:40 PM   #20
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Jack, I agree with you completely about reading and comprehending difficult material and today my son would as well. Which is why I was glad she did not recommend sending him back to a regular english class but instead took steps to encourage his interest.
But don't disparage the male's role in the insect world. All energy goes toward reproduction. Laying eggs or fertilizing them its all the same goal. Unfertilized eggs are always male. After mating the female can determine which eggs are fertilized therefor determining the sex of the egg. Male female neither role is subordinate in importance to the other.
Thanks, Gloria, you made me feel better about myself. It's interesting that in reading a book on bumblebees, just today, I learned what you just stated in your post, that the queen can control the gender of the eggs. I'm becoming fascinated by the "intelligence" of species other than humans. What determines ultimate intelligence if it isn't survival? If one accepts that definition, we're one of the more backward of species on the planet!!!
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