I recently posted comments on www.biobees.com relating to the youtube movie that was embedded in the link below.
I noticed that the bee foraging through the centre of a Sunflower was collecting pollen by sticking it to its underside rather than in 'bundles' on its back legs. Not having seen this before I thought it might have been some local adaptation and might be worthy of some further investigation. Left it at that and didn't think any more of it.
Fast forward to yesterday, Sunday, and whilst talking to Monique at Attenborough Nature Reserve she suggested that we could maybe do something extra during the DaDBeeP monthly meeting like a guest speaker or a quiz. So that evening I started gathering (ie. stealing) information from other web sites suitable for a quiz in November utilising a nifty bit of software/hardware that I can borrow from work called TurningPoint - bet you can't wait? Anyway, after trawling through lots of difficult (ie. boring) BBKA quizzes, I came across a few that had suitable questions and one of them was:
Which type of bee collects pollen by sticking it to its underside?
The answer: a Leaf Cutter Bee (see info. below). So if you find, as we have, your roses or other shrubs with neat little circular scalloped edges you probably have Leaf Cutter Bees in the vicinity.
The Megachilidae are a cosmopolitan family of (mostly) solitary bees whose pollen-carrying structure (called a scopa) is restricted to the ventral surface of the abdomen (rather than mostly or exclusively on the hind legs as in other bee families). They are most commonly known as mason bees and leafcutter bees, reflecting the materials they build their nest cells from (soil or leaves, respectively).