Life Inside a Stick

I gather sticks to burn in our fire bowl. As I tossed one onto the pile, it broke in the middle. I picked up the two pieces and noticed a dark cylinder in the middle. The cylinder sections were wrapped in tiny brown leaves. I knew that this meant a larva was inside.

I took the stick pieces inside to be examined. I carefully unwrapped the dozen or so small leaves from a section.

The first one only contained yellow powder.

The next section squirted as I got to the center. I carefully cut open the capsule. There was a light colored blob inside.

I put the blob on a slide and looked at it under the microscope. This face appeared.

I put the rest of the stick back outside. I do not know what is growing in it, but it was carefully wrapped to ensure its survival and placed in a well made tunnel.

If the stick had not broken, It would eventually have been burned. Sometimes our fire makes whizzing and squeaking noises. Now, I will worry that I have roasted some larvae.

Who knew that such mysteries would be enclosed in a stick?


7 thoughts on “Life Inside a Stick

  1. Looks like a leaf cutter bee, one of the solitary bees. They lay eggs in hollow sticks, the yellow powder is propolis, a food made from pollen for the larva to eat, and they plug the chambers with bits of leaves.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much for this info. I have not had time to look it up. I thought the yellow powder looked like pollen. I have been pondering the identification of the leaves. I do not recognize them. That is such a complex nest. I am truly amazed. I appreciate your comment. Now I have clues to follow.


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