Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 24 Number 2 February 2022
Page 4

The Leafcutter Bee

David Everson

David EversonWhen God created the creatures of the field during the week of creation, He made a whole host of amazing creatures that included the insects. Among the multitudes of insects God created are some creatures that almost defy imagination. Among those is a member of the bee family – the leafcutter bee – that is largely unknown by most people. Let’s take a look at the some of the amazing features of this creature.

As a fairly unremarkable bee, it is many times overlooked as just a fly. They are about 2/3 the size of a common honeybee and not as colorful. The leafcutter bee has an abdomen that is covered with many bristles – called scopa – which are used to carry pollen. This makes spreading pollen easier from one flower to another, which makes the leafcutter bee one of a gardener’s best pollinators. In fact, the US Agricultural Research Service says that in the alfalfa fields and in greenhouses, one leafcutter bee can do the job of at least twenty honeybees! So, it is a very important insect for farmers’ crops.

The leafcutter bee is a solitary bee, unlike most bees with which we are familiar with, like the honeybee. Living a solo lifestyle causes all responsibilities that are normally shared by members of a hive to be done by the female. Even more unusual is the fact that males of the species live for just a few weeks and have only one function – reproduction. The female leafcutter bee serves as the drone, worker and queen, which makes her remarkably busy indeed. Because of everything she has to do, she does not live far from where the pollen is located, and most of the time, she has a range of only about 300 feet. This also keeps her so busy that she is not interested in aggression, which would distract her from other important tasks. Therefore, they rarely sting.

The work ethic of the leafcutter bee female is only part of the amazing features of this creation. The name of this bee comes from its unusual method of nest building. The female will make several nest chambers in holes in wood, hollow tubes and other small round openings, including the ends of water hoses. This nest chamber is lined with pieces of leaves, that as its name implies, are cut from plants in the area. These are arranged inside of the hollow nest area as a structure that resembles a rolled cigar. The egg chamber nest is wrapped up in the leaves into which she deposits pollen and a single egg. Then, she separates one nest chamber from another with another cut leaf. The larva will use the pollen as a food source as it grows and then exit as the food runs out about when it matures.

The ability of this industrious female leafcutter bee to collect food, pollinate so many flowers in the process due to the bristles of the scopa, search out suitable hollow locations, build multiple nests by cutting hundreds of leaf pieces, stocking the nest chambers with food and lay eggs is incredible. These amazing abilities given by the Creator are all passed on in the DNA blueprint as the young bees never see their mother, and consequently, they have no one from whom they can learn. So, let’s always praise the Creator as we observe His handiwork around us (Romans 1:20; Psalm 33:6-9).

Get Inside!

Thomas Baxley

Thomas BaxleyIn the days of Noah, God warned of a flood that was going to come and consume the world. There was a way to escape the flood; God instructed His servant Noah to build a boat, which could be boarded. Salvation was simple: Get inside! A millennium later, God told Moses to carry a message to Pharaoh, but Pharaoh didn’t heed the message. Subsequently, he and his people suffered the ten plagues. The last plague was the death of the firstborn male, but people in Egypt were told they could escape the plague by covering their doorways with blood. Salvation was simple: Get inside! The Bible declares that one day we will stand before God and give an account of our lives, and if we are not saved, we will be cast out. The Bible also declares that those who are baptized into Christ and who remain at home with God will spend eternity in God’s presence. Salvation is still simple: Get inside!

[Editor’s Note: Comparable to Noah’s ark – figuratively, of course – the Lord’s church is the ark of safety, today. Get inside! On the birthday of the church in Acts 2, believers were told to repent and to be baptized for the remission of their sins (vs. 37-38; cf., Mark 16:16). That day about 3,000 souls submitted to Christian baptism (v. 41), and Jesus added them to His church (v. 47). Get inside! ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]

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