Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The hellacious secrets of nature!

I learned about some naughty beetle larvae in a great book called Keeping the Bees by Laurence Packer. The terribly ingenious larvae of the Francisco oil beetle (Meloe franciscanus) will clump together (about 700 in a ball) and emit a pheromone that makes the male habropoda pallida bee think he's found a willing floozy. When the bee approaches, the entire clump of larvae leaps onto him, and is eventually taken back to the nest. Check out movie #1 to see this in action! What's amazing is how the clump remains intact as it leaps from stem to bee. Bloody fantastic! You must go watch the video. The little buggers knock the poor bee to the ground!

"This movie shows a male Habropoda pallida bee approach and contact an aggregation of Meloe franciscanus triungulins on the tip of a wooden rod. The bee then falls briefly to the ground, covered with the entire mass, and finally flies off with most of the triungulins attached to his body. There is a second larval mass 11 cm below the mass on the tip of the rod. "

Once the bee returns to the nest, the larvae settle in and eat the pollen and nectar stores. Then they chow down on the bee larvae. Absolutely hellaciously insidious!

Don't say I never teach you guys anything.


  1. O_O that is radical...

  2. Does this mean you had such larvae in your bee hives???

  3. Don't worry, Monika, they only do this to some desert bee that lives nowhere near here.

    We get varroa mites in our honeybee hives, and sometimes wax moths, but otherwise we're okay!

  4. Fascinating stuff. Thanks for sharing

  5. It sounds like the makings of a bee horror movie ...

  6. Yikes... that's scary icky. Poor bees. Thanks for the info. Now I can scare people. :) Thanks for wishing my back well and all the comments.

  7. Callie, I have lots of good nature facts for scaring people. :))

    Ahab, I agree!


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!