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How do pollinating insects live?

Pollinating insects live in different ways depending on the species. Something most insects have in common is a fairly short life cycle, usually up to a year. An exception is the honey bee queen, which can live 4 to 5 years and lay half a million eggs during that time.

The mason bee is the most easily distinguishable bee seen in insect hotels, at least the ones that have round holes. The mason bee is a solitary bee. After mating, the female rears her offspring herself and lives alone. The first bees to emerge from the nest site are the males (which hatch from unfertilised eggs). They guard the females at the nest site or the flowers they know to be her favourites. When the females emerge, they start by looking for nectar. After that they mate and then look for a nest site to lay their eggs. Mason bees prefer a deep hole with smooth walls and a smooth opening which doesn’t damage their wings.  The bee crawls inside and makes a provision mass out of pollen. She lays her first egg on the mass, then sets about building a partition wall from saliva and soil. After this, she lays another egg on another mass of nutritious pollen. Then she continues building new cells. She lays unfertilised eggs in the outermost cells, which become males.
After laying her eggs in early spring, the female dies. A few months later, a larva hatches. After eating its provisions, it spins a cocoon and enters the pupal stage. Later in the spring, it emerges from the cocoon as a new mason bee and the cycle is complete.

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