Insects | Megachile aurifrons > nesting | capping the nest | opportunity knocks | pollen | private moments | red eyes | resin | squatting | bee video | sequel

The native Golden-browed Resin Bee (Megachile aurifrons) are often found nesting in discarded mud nests of other insects such as the Potter Wasps. The abandoned nest holes are inspected and then prepared by the bee in preparation for the egg. The nests are lined and filled with nectar and pollen providing food for the developing young. Once the egg is laid, the Golden-browed Resin Bee then proceeds to create a resin to seal the nest hole.

The Megachile aurifrons belong to the family Megachilidae, that are also commonly known as the “leafcutter”. The species in this family of bees use leaves to line their nests. The Megachile aurifrons macerates the leaf into a pulp and whilst they may use some of this pulp in the nest, the macerated leaf is turned into a resin-like material used to seal the hole, which will harden to create an effective cap. The colour of this resin can be varied, depending on the type of leaf used.

Whilst we cannot say for certain, but it does appear that the Golden-browed Resin Bee may also use the resin to line the inner part of the nest, before filling it with pollen.

In the following photo you can see the resin cap is dull green in colour. They can vary, with some freshly capped nesting holes being a glossy green, that usually darkens over time.

Golden-browed Resin Bee (Megachile aurifrons) capping the nest with resin, Alice Springs, NT

  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Hymenoptera
  • Family: Megachilidae
  • Genus: Megachile
  • Species: M. aurifrons
  • Binomial name: Megachile aurifrons

Footnote & References

  1. Functional resin use in solitary bees, Shao Xiong Chui, Alexander Keller, Sara D. Leonhardt, 12 November 2021, https://doi.org/10.1111/een.13103
  2. Functional resin use in solitary bees, Photographs: (a and b): Dr. Kit Prendergast, (c and d): Zestin Soh, Facebook Hymenoptera Research, https://www.facebook.com/HymenopteraR/photos/a.1788122941454325/3064510540482219