Bee babies found

Hi, I just discovered bee babies (leaf cutter) in a split piece of wood. I wonder if just taping it back together will work to save them

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I don’t know, but it seems reasonable, and preferable to further disturbance. YOu could try it, monitor, and treat it like an experiment to see what results you get.

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Some commercial bee nesting aids (“hotels”) are built in a modular fashion, consisting of sheets of compressed wood with grooves on one side, which are then stacked and strapped or clamped to together – so much like your piece of wood. Not all bees are good housekeepers who clean out old nests after use, so the idea is that such constructions can be taken apart for periodic cleaning with minimal disturbance of any current occupants.

So I think securely taping the pieces of wood back together should work, ideally with a bit of pressure to avoid a crack where parasites might get in. Please make sure to put it outside afterwards. Sometimes people make the mistake of bringing nesting aids inside for the winter, or bees will manage to nest in pots of plants that are taken inside to overwinter, and often this results in the bees emerging too early due to the extra warmth.

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You could leave it open as is, and take photos at regular intervals. Perhaps we will all see the babies develop : )

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What is the width of the cavity? The “cellophane” texture of the cell lining (or pupal casing?) might indicate family Colletidae, e.g. something like Hylaeus. But they are quite small and the cavity seems larger (I may be misjudging the scale).

Or it might possibly be some other cavity-nesting aculeate wasp. I don’t see remnants of either pollen or insect provisions, which can often provide a clue. Hylaeus nest cells are filled with a liquidy mixture compared to the powdery pollen stores of many other bees.

I would not leave it open, but reseal it and keep it somewhere dry, since any original water- and pestproofing of the cells is no longer intact. If you decide you want to be able to observe the further development, you could use a strip of plexiglass or solid plastic to seal off the open side.

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Yes I would think that leaving it open would increase risk of dehydration. It would also lead to more extreme temp swings.

If it were me (not being an entomologist, but having done a fair amount of physiology work), I would close it up, and place it in an outside or unheated area that would get a fairly natural thermal environment, and hope for the best.

Outside is also good even if they don’t survive because then whatever eats/decomposes them is still a part of “the circle of life”. Many insect larvae aren’t going to overwinter successfully for one reason or another, but even dead/decomposing ones can still have a beneficial role to play.

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the holes are 5mm. I taped it up immediately. I used masking tape.
My identification of leaf cutter is based on the bees of the area, the timing and the level of development at this time. Not foolproof. It looks to me like they have eaten nearly everything and are ready to change into adults.
They have been kept quite cool.

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