Insects

Pollinators Hard At Work

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Bees get lots of credit for pollinating and I love to watch them feeding on nectar.

DSC_9614 Bee

Their tongue is actually covered in long hairs and apparently it looks like a mop close up. The bee drinks by its mouthparts surrounding the tongue forming a sucking tube. It then stretches its tongue down through the tube to dip into the liquid and drink.

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But wasps are also very important not only for pollinating, but also for keeping the balance of caterpillars in check.

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I watched a potter wasp the other day feeding on flower nectar. They are also sometimes known as mason wasp. These are solitary wasps and they get their common name because they construct rounded nests with narrow necks that look like miniature pottery. These are often attached at the bottom of twigs. The female makes her nest by carrying a droplet of water and mixing it with dry clay earth, using her mandibles. It is thought that her saliva helps to strengthen the dried mud. She then collects wood fibres to cover her nest. Once her nest is finished she collects small caterpillars, which she paralyzes with her sting and puts in her cell to feed her larva as it develops. She then lays an egg on the pile of caterpillars.

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