Video of Resin bees making homes Part 1
With my discovery of these new bees visiting the homes I made, some footage was collected while they were hard at work. Sometimes these bees would drop some of whats in their mouth parts as they approach the home they are building. I picked up some of this and it was wood from the looks of it but mashed up. It was like wood was turned into cotton or a fine wood pulp, I guess they do that with their large mandibles. Further down in this post you can see how big their mouth parts are so makes sense they chew up hard stuff like wood.
These bees are solitary just like my Mason and Leafcutter bees I raise. Though their behavior is different in how they build homes. Mason bees use mud, Leafcutter bees use leaves, and Resin bees use tree sap and wood pulp. Also resin bees are larger than their Mason and Leafcutter bee counterparts. But all are solitary and build homes by themselves.
Its pretty amazing they can fly around and carry that wood pulp up so far. It must be pretty heavy for them, sometimes they drop it or even the bee falls down. But it never stops them from trying again.
I was quite happy to find these making homes in the boards, as earlier in the season I only saw a single Mason bee using the boards. Glad the Resin bees have shown up in large numbers to build homes in these. I have seen up to five at a time all building homes.
Sometimes the pieces of wood they are carrying is quite big, you can see some in its mouth in the capture above.
They flap their wings as they walk around on the board, maybe it gives them some support or makes it lighter on their legs.
Animation of two Resin bees working on the outside of their homes. As they finish off a hole they cap it to keep other predators out that may eat the larva.
We can see the Resin bees fuzzy butt in the above screenshot. They will attach pollen to their underside of their abdomen just like Mason and Leafcutter bees do. Since these bees are lacking an organ that Honey bees have called a pollen basket. Which is a sack on the side of the Honey bees leg where they store pollen. But these Resin bees use their hairy backsides to collect pollen. They will then ball it up and feed it to their larva they are building homes for.
As the Resin bee is looking to land I can see some more wood debris in its mouth parts.
I am amazed these big bees can fit into the boards, they seem to get in pretty easy.
The bees get along quite well and just stick to their own homes. The Resin bees will make use of pre-existing holes that Carpenter bees made so they are not destructive.
I can see some more debris in their mouth parts above, this may be actual resin. As the other white pieces looked like wood pulp.
Animation of one of the Resin bees landing and getting ready to go into one of their homes.
As the holes are filled from back to front, the Resin bees will back in and lay larva and then seal the home. Doing this many times they will have dozens of larva in each of the holes. They then seal it with tree resin.
Maybe it is due to the season coming to an end for these bees, but they can be quite clumsy sometimes. Maybe its due to their large payload they are carrying in their mouth. Or maybe they are getting old. But sometimes they miss and come tumbling down.
When they fail to land where they want, they resort to climbing the side and going in the hole that way.
Their large mouth parts can be seen in the above image.
In part 2 we will take a closer look at these bees and more footage of them building homes. Since they are only active for a few months a year I did my best to capture as much footage as I could, I plan on collecting more next year if they indeed return. Hoping the larva inside will emerge next summer.
Video note: At the moment there seems to be an issue with thumbnails on my new YouTube videos, it still works its just missing its cover. Seems to be stuck in the copyright check part, causing it to not finish posting. But the URLs still work and the video can be viewed.