Posted by: buzzybeegirl | July 14, 2009

It’s Alive!!!!

Hello bee readers. In the past 2 weeks I have been cutting open some of my artificial bee trap-nests that I had used in my graduate research project. I have to send some of my specimens over to a colleague so he can ID my bees down to the species level. There were two bees that I had been looking for. I had seen them out in the field, but some did not develop or emerge into the metal mesh that I placed over the nest entrance. I wanted to look for these bees so I would know what species they were. Finally…after cutting open several sticks I found the two bees. That’s not all I found though…check this out…

I opened one of the sticks and found some cocoons inside. The bees are usually found within the cocoons, and these two had live baby bees (larvae)  inside of them.

bee cocoon

bee cocoon

Since these cocoons had living bees inside of them…I wanted to rear them out, which means I am keeping them to see what bee emerges once it is ready to come out. Much like butterflies, bees also go through metamorphosis and have to wait inside their cocoons until they are adults and ready to emerge. This is what I am waiting for. So, I put them in a chamber, labeled with information, waiting…and waiting for them to emerge.

bee cocoons in rearing chamber

bee cocoons in rearing chamber

I did find other cocoons. I found this one, which is small. So very small. Maybe about the size of two grains of regular white rice. I opened the cocoon, and found…


And yes…IT’S ALIVE!!!


So that is what I have been up to. This process will continue until I have cut all my bee sticks open. How long will this take? Well, it all depends with what else I have going on. Each nest takes a while to open. You have to be very careful and delicate. you don’t want to open a nest and have things fly everywhere. Oh no…that would be very messy and bad if you are trying to collect all the nest contents.


  1. It’s cool your bees are still alive even though they hadn’t already emerged! Fun!

  2. That actually looks more like a crabronid wasp to me, but I could be mistaken….

  3. My — that is small!!! Thanks for the great pictures and info. I always enjoy your blog!

  4. Very cool!

    I’m going to do a post on leaf cutter bees and link to your blog. I’ve interviewed a woman in Kansas City who has the cedar posts with holes drilled into them. All of the holes seem to have Leaf Cutter Bee occupants, too.

  5. Very cool! Baby bees must be as cute as puppies and kittens…or so I like to think on your behalf!

  6. A great blog. Very informative.

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