The Red Mason Bee (Osmia bicornis)

16th April 2012
If you read the BLOG post about my "Bee Hotel", you will know that the Red Mason Bee (Osmia bicornis), previouly known as Osmia rufa, is a potential resident. I managed to photograph some females nesting locally last year, so I've been on the lookout for the first appearance of the 2012 generation.

Well, I've started seeing plenty of males but I'm still waiting for females. This first male appeared on 16th April, investigating old nest holes in my house wall. The males generally emerge about two weeks before the females.

Hopefully then, I'll be seeing females by about the end of April. Although these two males are not actually in the Bee Hotel (just close to it), I have seen some investigating it and entering the holes. Didn't have the camera with me at the time though!

The females use balls of mud in the construction of their nests and have two little prong-like "horns" extending from their lower face (clypeus). This is what gives the name bicornis.

See the BLOG entry about my Bee Hotel here.


Photo comment By Brian: Very interesting article Ed. I'm hoping to get some activity in my new bee box. Nothing yet though.

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