Welcome to the hotel Hymenoptera ...

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Planapo
Posts: 1585
Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 2:33 am
Location: Germany, in the United States of Europe

Welcome to the hotel Hymenoptera ...

Post by Planapo »

...such a loveley place ... :smt034 :smt035

Image
Plenty of room at the hotel hymenoptera
Any time of the year, you can find it here. :D



This "hotel hymenoptera" is located in our backyard garden. Around the "hotel" quite a lot of interesting insect wildlife can be watched during the warm season, and the macrophotographer finds a lot motives in the immediate vicinity of his/her home.
The "guests" that breed in the drilled holes are mainly solitary bees of various sizes and some solitary wasps. Furthermore, the dipteran and hymenopteran parasites which oviposit on the larvae and stored food of these solitary wasps and bees are to be observed sometimes.

The "hotel" can be erected easily by boring holes with diameters of various sizes (between 2-10 mm, but a majority between 3-6 mm) and a depth between 5-10 cm into a roughly brick-sized piece of hardwood, oak preferably. We got our oak chunks as waste/rejects from a local saw mill. After drilling the holes put a wooden board on top and cover it with roofing paper as a shelter against rain and snow. Put it up at eye height preferably. It has to obtain sunshine, i. e. the front side with the holes should be directed south to southwest. The "hotel" can be mounted on a wall, fence or post in your garden or on your balcony, and it has to stay there the whole year round as the larvae need the change of the temperatures for their development.

The hotel´s inhabitants need supply of food which they hopefully can find in the surroundings. Especially the solitary bees can be fostered by nearby planting of native plant species that deliver pollen and nectar. For Europe I can name some plant species especially suitable, if anyone is interested; for the nearctic region at least some of the genus names of these plants should be identical. On a balcony this planting can be done in pots or flower boxes.


Image
Here some flowers of Colutea arborescens, a European shrub that I have raised from seeds, and that now grows in a large pot. I can´t help it, but on a close look these flowers always remind me of a bunch of fiercely looking baboon heads! Do you see what I mean? :? :D



Image
Here the flower of Colutea arborescens is visited by a female leaf cutter bee of the genus Megachile. Doesn´t she hold her hindlegs most elegantly?:D These Megachilid bees don´t carry pollen on the hind leg like honey bees and others, but in a "belly brush", i. e. hairs on the underside of the "abdomen" what can be observed on the photo . Sometimes Megachile bees are used as pollinators in commercial agriculture.


Hope you enjoyed,
--Betty :D

JoanYoung
Posts: 583
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2007 4:20 am
Location: South Africa

Post by JoanYoung »

I found your post most interesting Betty. What a great idea. Thank you for it. :) Lovely pics too!!
Joan Young

beetleman
Posts: 3578
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 4:19 am
Location: Southern New Hampshire USA

Post by beetleman »

Beautiful photos Betty. I will have to make one of those blocks next year. Now if I can just "GET THAT SONG OUT OF MY HEAD" :roll:
Take Nothing but Pictures--Leave Nothing but Footprints.
Doug Breda

Ken Ramos
Posts: 7208
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2006 2:12 pm
Location: lat=35.4005&lon=-81.9841

Post by Ken Ramos »

...you can checkout anytime you like but you can never leave. :smt034 A wonderful set of images Betty, those flowers are as sexy as socks on a rooster! :wink: I think they look a lot like Yosemite Sam from Buggs Bunny cartoons. What ever happened to those anyway? :-k

rjlittlefield
Site Admin
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Location: Richland, Washington State, USA
Contact:

Post by rjlittlefield »

Nice pictures, but what really fascinates me is the "hotel hymenoptera". I have never seen this done before!

What is the material packed into the holes? I notice that one of your pictures is a leaf cutter bee. Are the holes full of dry chopped up leaves?

--Rik

jmlphoto
Posts: 269
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2007 11:09 am

Post by jmlphoto »

i gotta build me one of those. i also read a link for this other solitary bee i forgot the name though. glad to see i can make my own. great shots i love those flowers
Jordan L. photo southern california.

Planapo
Posts: 1585
Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 2:33 am
Location: Germany, in the United States of Europe

Post by Planapo »

Thanks for your friendly comments, guys!

Joan - This way to encourage some of our local wild bees is not my own idea, I´ve read it long time ago in a great book on these bees (see below), but the author didn´t dub it "hotel Hymenoptera". That popped into my mind when they played The Eagles´ famous song on the radio while I was preparing this post. :D

Ken - I ´ve googled pictures of "Yosemite Sam", and yeah, definitely I can see your point! :lol:

Doug and Jordan - Now, that would be nice if I could inspire you to open a "hotel Hymenoptera" yourself! And of course, it would be interesting to see what "guests check in" at your place. Get involved! :smt023 :wink:

Rik - There is an amazing variety of the elaborate ways in that bees contruct their nests. Note that many of the bees nest in the ground and can´t be propagated with such nesting blocks. Others nest in dead wood or dead dry stalks of plants where they bite a hole in and dig out the soft decaying wood/pith to have room. Some build nests from scratch in beautifully sophisticated ways, e. g. in a masonry technique from saliva, clay, sand and tiny stones.

However, the ones that are nesting in the bore holes will build linear nests consisting of a row of cells divided by walls made in different ways (e.g. out of collected plant resins or clay, leaves) depending on the species. Generally, in each cell they place a lump of a dough made of the pollen and some nectar they have gathered and lay a single egg upon it.

Now, some of the Megachile species, but not all, construct cells from pieces they´ve cut out of leaves. Hence, in summer I can find the roundish cuttings missing on leaves of plants in the vincinity of the nesting blocks. And from theses pieces they craft a little pouch in the shape of a thimble, this then functions as one cell, and several will be lined-up in the bore hole of the nesting block.
The lid that finally closes the hole is again made in different ways, depending on the species again. Some make a "concrete" out of plant resins/waxes and nectar they gather and probably saliva which then hardens firmly. Into this kind of "concrete" ,while it is still soft, some other bees glue tiny stones/sand grains, which gives a nice "masonry" appearance. Again others close the hole with pottery, i. e. they stuff gathered clay into the hole which then hardens when drying ...

As a kid I came across an excellent book on wild bees written by the German biologist Paul Westrich. Actually this great book, a sound treatise on the topic with many good colour fotos, back then started my interest in entomology.
Westrich, P. 1990. Die Wildbienen Baden-Württembergs. Ulmer, Stuttgart. vol. 1+2; 972pp.

Now, searching for literature some time ago I discovered that Paul Westrich has put up a homepage. Although the text is in German, it contains many photos, the ones to be clicked in order to enlarge have English captions, and thus may be worthwhile visiting and clicking around even if one can´t read German.
http://www.wildbienen.info/bienen/index.php

There also is a video that shows a Megachile bee carrying a piece of a leaf into her nesting site.
http://www.wildbienen.info/downloads/me ... s_nest.mov

--Betty

edit: typo
Last edited by Planapo on Fri Nov 16, 2007 9:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

Mike B in OKlahoma
Posts: 1048
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 10:32 pm
Location: Oklahoma City

Post by Mike B in OKlahoma »

The guests do have to watch out for The Eagles, whether they have stingers or not!

Very clever idea, thanks for sharing this.

As it happened, I was photographing a sidewinder in our local zoo a month or two ago and a little girl (perhaps four years old) was also looking at him. I talked about Yosemite Sam and said "This is what he's talking about when he calls Bugs Bunny a 'consarned sidewinder'" and she looked puzzled. I said "Do you know who Yosemite Sam is?" and she shook her head no! Sad, very sad, how this younger generation has totally lost touch with our cultural roots! :lol: (but her parents knew who Yosemite Sam was!).
Mike Broderick
Oklahoma City, OK, USA

Constructive critiques of my pictures, and reposts in this forum for purposes of critique are welcome

"I must obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul....My mandate includes weird bugs."
--Calvin

Mike B in OKlahoma
Posts: 1048
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 10:32 pm
Location: Oklahoma City

Post by Mike B in OKlahoma »

Betty, since you've gone through life sadly not seeing Yosemite Sam, I found a clip on Youtube that shows him, just for you! Enjoy! :lol:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=RTfaQcKf9Gc&feature=related
Mike Broderick
Oklahoma City, OK, USA

Constructive critiques of my pictures, and reposts in this forum for purposes of critique are welcome

"I must obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul....My mandate includes weird bugs."
--Calvin

Planapo
Posts: 1585
Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 2:33 am
Location: Germany, in the United States of Europe

Post by Planapo »

:lol: Thanks Mike, I did enjoy the video with its original sound.
Betty, since you've gone through life sadly not seeing Yosemite Sam, ...
See, it´s not that bad, Bugs Bunny was on German tele when I was a kid, so I am well aware of some of your "cultural roots" :lol: :wink: .
But unfortunately, back then one could only receive a dubbed version, and hence I ´ve known the little wild cowboy who is always with explosives ready at hand, but as far as I know he wasn´t called "Yosemite Sam" in the German version, or I had just forgotten his original name which is in fact, for a German child, hard to understand and to remember when spoken quickly. I think I will never forget Yosemite Sam from now on.

Cheers,
Betty

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