Features of the largest bee in the world - megahills
We are accustomed to buzzing toilers who collect nectar from the flowers of plants and process it into honey. This inconspicuous insect has long been a friend of man. But there is a truly gigantic species of bees, which will be discussed in this material.
Biological Description and Characterization
The largest bees in the world are called megahills and are part of the Megachilidae family. The subspecies of the huge bee Megachilidae pluto (another name is Wallace's bee) sometimes grows up to 6 cm and is the record holder in size among these insects.
Did you know? Megachilidae pluto was first discovered in 1858 in Indonesia, after some time the insect was considered extinct, until in 1981 it was again found in the same area. And last year, the caught individual was sold through an online auction for $ 9,000.
Females of megahills reach a size of up to 4 cm with a wingspan of up to 6.3 cm. Males are noticeably smaller - 2.5–3 cm, but still look frightening. This powerful insect is extremely rare and has long been listed in the Red Book.
The habitat of Megahili Pluto is located in Indonesia. Other, smaller species can be found in all countries of southern, central and eastern Europe. They like to settle in hollows of trees, where other species of bees parasitizing on honey often live with them.
The appearance of the insect is quite frightening - a powerful black body with a small edge, four brown wings, six large legs without lobes (aroles). Near dark brown eyes there are grasping appendages of the jaws and large black antennae.
The habitat of the megahila and its life cycle
There is little data on the life of these insects, since it is extremely difficult to meet them in their habitats. Bees live on the Moluccas in Indonesia, and they met them in almost the same place.
They nest in the already prepared cavities inside the trees or stumps, laying out the nest with foliage, stems, flower petals and pieces of bark. Also megahills do not disdain termite mounds, where they build their nest from the resin of trees.
Important! The life cycle of adult insects is short - they die in two months. This species does not create a swarm, but leads a solitary lifestyle. Females lay a huge egg about 9 mm in diameter.
The properties of honey megahila bees
Megahills do not build wax honeycombs and do not produce honey. These insects live separately in nests arranged in hollows of trees. The maximum number of inhabitants of such a colony, registered by scientists, amounted to 157 individuals. This type of colony does not have the most important and safeguarded link of the bee family - the uterus. The family consists of females and male drones and is usually 100 or fewer individuals.
Video: Megahill bee
Is the bite of the largest bee in the world dangerous for humans?
Megahil has a low level of aggression. By calm, they look like bumblebees, which may not bite, even if caught with the palm of your hand.Checking this childhood impression and judgment is not worth it, but these giants from the world of insects are really doing their job and will not pay attention to external stimuli if they are left alone.
If you still get the bee out of itself, then the females can bite. This will not cause an allergic reaction, and the pain will not be too serious. Rather, the size of a biting insect can scare a stronger bite.
Did you know? The speed of a flying bee is 24 km / h. For comparison, the wasp speed is 9–12 km / h
Is it possible to tame a megahil?
The word "tame" is not entirely true when applied to this insect, which could not even be caught for many years. You can try to attract him by creating the necessary conditions. The smaller megahills are an excellent pollinator of alfalfa, so farmers are trying to attract them to the plantation with this plant, creating artificial nests for such bees.
Designs mimic real environmental conditions in which insects feel good and cope with pollination of crops. A full taming will not work, but these bees will respond to the invitation. Some farmers tried to split even a small megahill family. They took root in a new place and pollinated plantations.
Megahila, despite his menacing appearance, is a typical bee worker. It is a pity that the insect does not produce honey, but even without this its use in pollination of plants is doubtless.