Sunday, 30 October 2011

Leaf-Cutting Bees

We are having some difficulty in tracking down the existence of this magazine; it is not mentioned in Wikipedia and our web searches have been without success, so far.

Leaf-Cutting Bees

A. Hyatt Verrill

The Watchman; Aug 24, 1905; researched by Alan Schenker, digitized by Doug Frizzle, October 2011

Perhaps some of my readers may have noticed on their rose bushes a number of leaves in which neat round or oblong holes were cut. This is the work of the leaf-cutting bee, a pretty little insect, looking much like the common honey bee, but with stout orange red legs and metallic green reflections about the head.

Although the mutilated leaves are all too common, the nest for which they are sacrificed is seldom seen, for this little bee is a carpenter as well as a leaf cutter, and hides her home away deep in the heart of some old post or board. The hole is much like that of her busy relative, the carpenter bee, but smaller, and, instead of forming a tunnel at right angles to the entrance, penetrates directly into the wood.

When the hole is drilled to her satisfaction our little friend stops carpenter work, and flying to the nearest rose bush, selects a tender, perfect leaf. From this she cuts oblong pieces, which are carried to the nest and formed into a thimble-shaped tube at its bottom. This tube is next filled with pollen and honey, on which a tiny egg is placed. Another trip is taken to the rose bush, and this time perfectly circular pieces a trifle larger than the diameter of the tube are cut. These the little worker forces into the upper end of the tube, forming a tightly fitting stopper. These operations are continued until the hole is filled with tubes, one above another. The lowest eggs are hatched first, and each young bee waits for the one beyond to go forth, in the same manner as the young of the large carpenter bee.

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As an armed forces brat, we lived in Rockcliff (Ottawa), Namao (Edmonton), Southport (Portage La Prairie), Manitoba, and Dad retired to St. Margaret's Bay, NS.
Working with the Federal Govenment for 25 years, Canadian Hydrographic Service, mostly. Now married to Gail Kelly, with two grown children, Luke and Denyse. Retired to my woodlot at Stillwater Lake, NS, on the rainy days I study the life and work of A. Hyatt Verrill 1871-1954.