Super Rare Bumblebees Build Homes With Flower Petals
Two research teams, in Turkey and Iran, both recently discovered an incredibly rare species of bees. Coined the Osmia (Ozbekosima) avoseta bee, the insects use colorful flower petals to create papier-mache cocoons for their offspring.
"Building a nest takes a day or two, and the female might create about 10 nests in total, often right next to each other. To begin construction, she bites the petals off of flowers and flies each petal -- one by one -- back to the nest, a peanut-sized burrow in the ground.
She then shapes the multi-colored petals into a cocoon-like structure, laying one petal on top of the other and occasionally using some nectar as glue. When the outer petal casing is complete, she reinforces the inside with a paper-thin layer of mud, and then another layer of petals, so both the outside and inside are wallpapered -- a potpourri of purple, pink and yellow.
These meticulous shells are just over a half-inch long and usually will house just one tiny egg. To prepare for her offspring, the mother collects pollen and nectar, which she carries back to the burrow in a nifty part of the digestive tract called the crop. She deposits this gooey blob of nutritional goodness in the bottom of the flower-petal nest. Then, she lays the egg, right on top of the gelatinous blob..." (Read more).