Bees That Nest in Flowers


Photo: Jerome Rozen / American Museum of Natural History

These sure aren't your ordinary beehives! Behold the nest of the O. avoseta bee, which is made from flower petals:

Each nest is a multicolored, textured little cocoon — a papier-mache husk surrounding a single egg, protecting it while it develops into an adult bee. [...]

To learn more, the scientists watched the busy mama bees. Building a nest takes a day or two, and the female might create about 10 nests in total, often right next to each other. To begin construction, she bites the petals off of flowers and flies each petal — one by one — back to the nest, a peanut-sized burrow in the ground.

She then shapes the multi-colored petals into a cocoon-like structure, laying one petal on top of the other and occasionally using some nectar as glue. When the outer petal casing is complete, she reinforces the inside with a paper-thin layer of mud, and then another layer of petals, so both the outside and inside are wallpapered — a potpourri of purple, pink and yellow.

NPR's Kathleen Masterson has the fascinating story: Link


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