Busy Bee

My two bee hotels have been full of activity this summer season with 2 hatchings of Hylaeine bees already. This short video shows a female Hylaeus(Euprosopis) honestus bee finishing off the protective cover to a bamboo tube full of eggs. She seems to be licking the whole edge of the membrane to make sure it is sealed and tight- much as we used to put brown paper covered with vinegar over jam jars to seal them, before the advent of cellophane circles. Further up the hotel, we can see an emerging new Hylaeus bee.

So successful have these bees been this year that I have had to install a third hotel for them. Hylaeus honestus looks more like a wasp with its shiny body and an absence of pollen-carrying hairs. The pollen it collects is carried internally! These little hotels do not seem to attract any other bee species at the moment but then, there have been very few other native bee species around this summer. In fact, all insect activity is well down since mid-2018, few native bees, wasps, moths, butterflies, stick insects, ant lions, and cicadas have been recorded in my usual haunts. What are all the insectivorous birds eating then?

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