I've got bees on the mind after a neat conference here in Ames the last few days, it happens to be National Pollinator Week, and just because they are way cool, I wanted to share this photo of two cells made by a leaf cutter bee (Megachile) in a potted plant. I've been watching her dig in the dirt recently but only really suspected she was providing for offspring when I saw her go under ground with some pollen. A few days later, these cells lay on top of the soil. I'm not sure whether they were meant to remain under the soil or not; one was later eaten by something that carefully peeled back the leafy layers to get at the pollen mass (or the bee egg?), so it is very possible that same culprit dug them up. It may be hard to tell by the photo, but I think, should the offspring in the remaining cell survive until next summer, this will be one big bee.
On a side note, there could be some interesting national legislation concerning bees at some point (http://pollinator.org/farm_bill.htm). Hope you all are well, and are getting to spend some time outside enjoying pollinators around the country (and world, for Molly).