The Quilting Bee Reinvented

Bee and flower  Ahhh, the wonders of the internet! It never fails to amaze me just how much information lies at our doorstep nowadays. With one click, you discover whole new worlds.

That happened to me last night. Thursday nights, Big Boss and I do something together…we watch two of our favorite programs. In fact, BB comes in at lunch on Thursdays and says, “Tonight’s our programs, right?” That always reminds me of his grandparents. They had their programs and you did NOT call them or stop by during Their Programs! Another piece of evidence that we are getting old.

Anyway, so we love “Person of Interest” and used to watch “The Mentalist”, until it moved to Sundays. That means, we were lured into “Elementary” and quickly discovered we liked it. Well, I knew I was going to like it because Jonny Lee Miller is in it. Hello. And guess what?!!! Big Boss likes it. He said so. Even IF JLM is English thus speaks with that “awful accent”. Quoting BB there. I adore his accent!

Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock and Lucy Liu as Watson. Photo courtesy of CBS Broadcasting Inc.

Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock and Lucy Liu as Watson. Photo courtesy of CBS Broadcasting Inc.

In the opening moments of last night’s “Elementary” episode, Sherlock is presented with the gift of a single bee. Which I thought was extremely odd. Being the daughter and grand-daughter of bee-keepers and having kept bees myself in the ’80s, I was instantly intrigued. A bee as a gift. Weird.

But this wasn’t just any bee, according to Sherlock. This bee makes its cells out of flower petals. Yeah right. What was Sherlock smoking now? But, being the curious soul that I am, I immediately “googled it” as my iPad was conveniently located in my lap as I sat on the floor stretching my old muscles.

Sure nuff….there it was. Osmia avosetta. WHO KNEW?!!! Well apparently, no one did until 2009. So here’s the scoop.

An Osmia avosetta bee cell. Photo courtesy of yahoo images.

An Osmia avosetta bee cell. Photo courtesy of yahoo images.

The osmia avosetta, hereafter referred to OA, is a solitary bee, meaning that it makes a single cell at a time in which to lay an egg. What the OA lays that egg in is what is intriguing!

A cell that has been vacated. Photo courtesy of yahoo images (most likely J. Rozen)

A cell that has been vacated. Photo courtesy of yahoo images (most likely J. Rozen)

The bee will go out in to a field of flowers…most often of the “Onobrychis viciifolia” type from the Fabaceae family of legumes found in Europe and the Middle East…similar to alfalfa and clover here.  (And they look a lot like a bluebonnet, which is also a legume.)  There the bee will chew off a petal from said flower, carry it to her nesting headquarters and start building a cocoon type of apartment.

The Onobrychis viciifolia, one of the flowers that these bees visit and make their homes out of. Photo courtesy of yahoo images.

The Onobrychis viciifolia, one of the flowers that these bees visit and make their homes out of. Photo courtesy of yahoo images.

The cell begins with a layer of flower petals, followed by a layer of mud and finished off with another layer of flower petals, resulting in a tiny little quilted nursery for its offspring!  Or, as some observers have noted, they build a petal sandwich.  Neat huh?! It almost looks as if the OA has bee watching too much Martha Stewart!  Don’t you love it?!!!

A bee egg nested into its very colorful home. Photo courtesy J. Rozen.

A bee egg nested into its very colorful home. Photo courtesy J. Rozen.

Once the cell is completed, the mama bee deposits nectar and pollen inside the cell and completes the project by laying one egg in the cocoon and seals it up.  And then starts a new one.  She likes to group them up together so no one gets lonely.  Eventually, in about 10 months, the whole batch of babies will chew their way out of the cell and a new cycle of life begins!!  Is the Lord great or what?

A cluster of little quilted bee houses. Photo courtesy of J. Rozen.

A cluster of little quilted bee houses. Photo courtesy of J. Rozen.

So while the OAs are not only propagating in a unique atmosphere, they are creating beautiful homes for their babies.  Joseph’s coat of many colors come to mind.

The OAs are kinfolk to the “mason bee” or leaf-chewers.  These quilter bees, as I prefer to call them, make their nests of baby quilts in the ground in Turkey and Iran and were not discovered until 2009, oddly on the same exact day in both countries!

Am I boring you yet?! I could go on and on about these little guys/gals.  There is a LOT of info on them out there and I love this kind of stuff and especially bee stuff.  More on that later.  But the bottom line is…while you might be vegging out in front of the TV, stay alert!!  You just might learn something new.

Thanks Sherlock. You are my new hero.  😀

FYI on a TGIF…my name translates to “bee” in Hebrew.  I’ve always wondered if my parent knew that when they chose that name for me, especially in light of my dad’s apiary genetics.   The colorful quilt design of the bee’s flower cell makes me think of my grandma and great-grandma who were quilters.  And I ponder on that scene in “Christy” where Fairlight shows Christy her Starry Sky quilt. Also makes me think of how amazing our Lord is in His creations, right down to a tiny little bee who can create beauty in homage to its Creator!

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4 Responses to The Quilting Bee Reinvented

  1. Dianne says:

    We’re watching the same programs, at least on Thursday night. Have you read THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES? You would like that book.

    Like

  2. grammyjj says:

    Helmet is leaving for a trip home tomorrow. He asked if you want him to bring you a bee back? 🙂

    Like

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