Bees Create Papier-Mache Nests From Flower Petals

NPR reports on an amazing rare type of bee that creates delicate, colorful individual nests using flower petals and a papier-mache method.

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.

Fascinating! The pictures in the story are gorgeous, and the details on how the mother sets up the inside of the nest to protect and nourish the egg and newly-hatched larva. I love thinking of bees being crafty, and wonder what kind of cool projects this could inspire for humans …

2 thoughts on “Bees Create Papier-Mache Nests From Flower Petals

  1. Katie Wilson says:

    Hey, I meant to comment on this ages ago… I read the story on NPR’s site about the same time you posted, and I just finally got around to writing my own post (below). But I found these little nests out in Marin that look strikingly similar and thought I’d spread the inquiry. Maybe someone out there knows what made them!? If I could submit the photo here I would. Thanks, Rach!

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