A welcome home

Male Osmia cornuta

Back from two weeks holidays and the first thing I saw as the car turned towards the house was the bees flying around my bee hotels.

Male Osmia cornuta waiting

It was so good to see them chasing each other and flying from beehouse to beehouse.

Male Osmia cornuta patient wait

These are the male Osmia cornuta with longer antenna than the female and cute white tufts on their heads.  I don’t know when they hatched out but last year there was a two week gap before the females hatched.  Perhaps this wait weeds out the weak and the impatient.  The males seem to spend most of their time chasing each other or looking longingly inside the holes which must contain females.

Male Osmia cornuta shelters in hole

When there is no sun and it gets cooler they retreat into a spare hole to wait.

They gave me such a welcome back home!

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15 thoughts on “A welcome home

  1. They are cute! I haven’t seen any yet, just a male Andrena haemorrhoa and some Xylocopa cf violacea. I’m hoping my veggie garden soil is going to be dry enough to work today, but we have an air pollution warning today also. A dilemma!

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    • I must check the dates on my photographs because I think we are early this year because we have hardly had a winter to speak of. It is only March so things could change but I hope not for the bees (and me!) Amelia

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  2. I wondered what happened to bees that hatch early and find the Spring weather gets cooler again, I wonder how long they can wait for? Lovely photos Amelia and I can imagine how exciting that was to be greeted by your bees.

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    • I am glad you can imagine what it was like to come home to see them buzzing around, I’m sure most people can’t imagine it. I was excited! I suppose if the weather cools it will be a bad year for a lot of things. The flowers will slow down and produce less nectar etc. I think the female Osmia will wake up on cue after the males. They pass winter in the adult form and will have to take their chances as to the availability of food. Amelia

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    • Mason bees is a general term, I think, for Osmia. Osmia rufa actually burrows into soft stone and brick (as do other bees) and this is where the name originates. These wild bees are often bred and taken to pollinate orchards. It would be nice to have environments that are clean and unpolluted so that there would be enough wild bees naturally occurring not to need to breed them. Amelia

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