Las abejas

My bees are doing fine. I lost a few to what's called pre-nesting dispersion due to the rain. Female mason bees see wind and rain as a statistical incentive to nest elsewhere. With that said, I had one nesting female as of yesterday and I observed one more decide to move in. They're very interesting when searching for a nesting tube. They actually check out multiple tubes by crawling in them. I watched two pre-nesting females scoping out the neighborhood. At least one decided to stay that I could tell. Both of them liked the tube where my first nester was already moved in. It must be prime real estate. Once they ascertained that the nest was occupied, they moved on to another tube. I watched them until the sun set. Both my nesters made one last forage. Upon their return, they hunkered down for the night.

I had to hand release four of them the other day. I discovered that some of them were facing the wrong way in their release tube. Though it was supposed to rain (incentive for them to leave), they were starving. I opened the tube up, they warmed up, and then they flew away. They were skinny little things. One of them tragically had a broken wing from competing with her sisters as to which way was up. The bees seem to bulk up pretty fast. They were emaciated little things when they emerged from their nesting tube, but the females I saw today were big and healthy.

I still have about two or four bees still in their release tubes waiting to come out. With the weather being nice and warm, wind and rain -free as well, I hope they decide to nest close to home. They are absolutely fascinating to watch. Today I watched them with a cold beer in one hand, just staring at them like they were a television set. Except they were interesting and had real content. And the breaks didn't contain any commericials. Also, I think I learned something, too.

Update: I added a picture of one of my nesting females, above. Notice the yellow on her abdomen. That's pollen.


At 3/7/05, 10:07 AM, Blogger SPCTutors said...

That is so cool, photo's anytime soon?


At 3/7/05, 11:34 AM, Blogger Crinis said...

Pictures will be coming soon. They are notoriously hard to photograph. They are so industrious. They don't stop for nothing. I watched them emerge from their nesting tubes this morning. They poked their little heads out, while warming themselves up. Once they were ready, they took off! I need a very fast shutter and a micro-setting. I don't think my current camera has that.

At 3/7/05, 10:01 PM, Blogger Christine said...

all i can think to say in my state of being over-whealmed by things so much less important is 'how friggin' neat!" It is nice to remember that animal (or insect?) life just goes on as we humans mess up everything in sight.

At 3/8/05, 9:21 AM, Blogger Crinis said...

Definitely an animal.
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Anthropoda
Class - Insecta
Order - Hymenoptera
Family - Megachildidae
Genus - Osmia
Species - Lignaria

I'm ordering some O. Californica today. They're a little different. I'll blog about them when I get them.


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