Leafcutter and mason bees

Most of these bees are solitary. Many have stout, dark brown to black bodies and may have yellow or pale markings; some arc metallic blue or green. Pollen-collecting species carry their loads in a brush of hairs found underneath the abdomen.

• life cycle Most species lay eggs in nests made in the natural cavities of dead wood, hollow stems, and snail shells. I >eaf-cutter bees cut circular pieces of leaves or petals to line the nests' brood cells. Other species use hairs from woolly-leaved plants. Mason bees make mud cells under stones and in burrows. Some species use the nests of other bees rather than making their own.

• Occurrence

Worldwide. In a variety of habitats.

• remark Vital crop-pollinators, these bees may be taken from crop to crop by farmers on huge trailers.

Larvae are stout, and are often fatter toward the rear end of the body.

CHA 1.1 CO DO MA MONTI CO 1A nests in hollow plant stems, such as bamboo canes, and builds cell partitions out of mud or from a mud and resin mixture.

wide-set, toothed mandibles stout body large, square head thorax and part of abdomen covered with dense orange hair

0rder HYMENOPTERA

Family MlTILLIDAE

No. of species 5 qqq

wingless female looks ant like -

strong, boxlike thorax coarse dimples

female wingless

LARVAE have very rounded abdominal segments (on the upperside) when seen in profile.

distinctive, soft, gold and black hairs velvet ants

I hese wasps are referred to as velvet ants because the females are covered with soft, velvety hairs and are wingless and antlike. The males have fully developed wings. Velvet ants are black or red-brown, with spots or bands of short hairs that are red, yellow, or silver. The body surface has coarse dimples.

• Libit CYCLE Velvet ants use the larvae and pupae of other wasps and bees - those that make soil, wood, or paper nests - as food for their larvae. On finding a suitable host brood cell, the female bites it open. She will rescal any cell where the larva inside is too young. If there is a fully grown larva or pre-pupa inside, however, she will lay an egg 011 it, before rescaling the cell. The hatched velvet ant larva then eats the host larva and pupates inside the cell.

• Occurrence Worldwide, especially in subtropical and tropical regions. Females are often seen on the ground in dry habitats.

• REMARK Female velvet ants have very powerful stings.

males have wings wingless female looks ant like -

strong, boxlike thorax

Mali.

<1A S/'HA EROPHTHA EM A ME! A N CHOI AC A comes from South America. It lays its eggs in the nests of certain bees and wasps - in the ground and in plant stems respectively.

male's abdomen slimmer than female's coarse punctures or dimples on thorax

<A Ml'El El A EUROPE A is widespread across Europe. It parasitizes species of bumblebee (see pp. 180-81).

Female fine dimples male's abdomen less hairy than female's band of short yellowish or silvery hairs

Male coarse dimples

Order HYMKNOPTKRA

Family poMPIUDAE

No. of species 4 qqa

No. of species 4 qqa

dark Jem ut yellow patches at sides of abdomen

inner spur of hint/ tibia modified to form large, movable spur (or calcar)

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