Mason bees

Bad photograph of male Osmia cornuta
Bad photograph of male Osmia cornuta

This afternoon I saw more than Mason bee circling around the Mason bee house.  The nests have hatched – I thought, and rushed to check which ones had opened.

I was quite surprised to see them intact and at first puzzled.

However, I could see the little white heads so I knew that they were males.

Another bad photograph of the male
Another bad photograph of the male

The photographs are poor as the box is in the shade in poor light.  However, I could plainly see their white tufts.  They not only landed on the nest but they explored inside the tubes.

I was pleased to see these males arrive as I had always assumed the hatching females were to mate with their brothers who hatched earlier.  It seemed to go against the principle of shuffling the gene pool in sexual reproduction.   Apparently the males can be more promiscuous and will travel in search of females rather than waiting where they have hatched.

I still have to wait to see if my nests will hatch.


10 thoughts on “Mason bees

    1. I’m not at all worried about pollination. I love to watch the bees and find out about how they live. I was interested that the males were able to find a place where either females had been or were going to appear. Perhaps the house has a distinctive smell for them. They circled the house during the afternoon, whereas, they were not noticeable elsewhere in the garden. I see a lot of bees in the summer but they are not all honey bees and I am trying to find out what type of bees can be found in my area.


  1. My European Orchard Bees Osmia cornuta males have hatched. They appear to stake out the unhatched holes. My guess is that they can smell the females who will hatch in a few days.

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    1. There must be some odour involved. It could be the odour emanating from the females about to hatch or odours still impregnating the wood from earlier years, I suspect the former.
      Thanks for the link the BBCons.Soc had contacted me but I was not sure what to do about it here.


  2. Pingback: Mason Bees, and other insects that make holes in houses in Poitou-Charentes. | Poitoucharentesinphotos

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