A hatchery decorated with red velvet - The Poppy Bee (Osmia / Hoplitis papaveris)
This is the story of the Poppy Bee (Osmia papaveris), a genus of wild bees which is very rare and threatened by extinction. There have not yet been taken any photos of that bee like those you can see in this article. Therefore the photos shown in this picture story about the Poppy Bee´s way of live are unique throughout the world.
The female Poppy Bee, which is well half as big as the honey-bee, uses its legs to dig a hole in sand that is slightly hardened, free of vegetation and sandy. From time to time, it loosens up the sand by bites of its mandibles. During this activity, she moves very quickly, almost hectically, giving the impression that she always is in a hurry.
When it is ready loosening enough soil material, it grabs a loading with its mandibles, takes off and flies away about one metre. There it drops the sand someplace or other, flies back and repeats the whole action again and again - until it has dug a hole of about 5-7 centimetres. At the end of the nest entrance, it hollows out a brood chamber of about 1.5 centimetres.
Subsequently, the Poppy Bee cuts pieces from corn poppy (Papaver rhoeas) petals with its mandibles in a flash. These pieces approximately have the size of a fingernail. During this cutting procedure, the pieces of petals which have already been removed are accumulated in the form of a ball below the bee´s heavily bent body. When it has removed the whole petal from the rest, it tips backwards pushing the precast petal ball between its mandibles and flies back to the nest.
The Poppy-Bee´s strong mandibles are perfect tools in order to cut a piece from a poppy petal. This cutting procedure just lasts about 4-6 seconds!
The females use to fly repeatedly to the same poppy blossom in order to cut pieces of petals for its nest-building. Thus the look of these poppy blossoms changes completely.
So the picture report continues:
- Nest-building with petals of the poppy
- Ingestion of the males/females
- Filling the nest with pollen and nectar
- Male looking for female
- The finished brood cell
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