Friday, 2 May 2014

Sharing One's Home with a Bee


I'm pretty sure that this little fellow is a Mortar or Mason Bee. I had rather expected it to be Osmia leaiana, but I have a feeling the antennae are too long.

Mortar bees usually go for the cement layer between the bricks, but I'm wondering if this hole was originally drilled by a human. These small, sun-loving insects are useful pollinators in the garden. They do not have collective nests and they do not deploy worker bees. I understand that females (or some females) have stings but that they are harmless to humans. A Mason Bee nest consists of one chamber with somewhere between six and twelve cells.

The cells are filled with 'bee bread', a mix of nectar and pollen. Eggs are laid, and when they hatch, the larvae feed off the bee bread. They pupate and emerge in May or perhaps June. 


4 comments:

myaberdeengarden said...

This was very interesting to read - thanks. I have just put up a bee hotel I was given as a Christmas present and am hoping to attract some solitary bees. I saw a lot of bumble bees in the garden last summer, but then I wasn't really aware of the other types. Will be looking more closely this year.

Em Parkinson said...

That definitely looks like a drill hole to me. What a great shot of it flying in!

eileeninmd said...

The hole does look perfect, like it was drilled.. I hope the bee does not go into the house.. Neat photos. Have a happy weekend!

Crafty Green Poet said...

I love bees, wonderful insects to have around