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Follow our progress running the nursery, watching wild bees, keeping honey bees and creating our own bee-haven in south Oxfordshire

Mason bees in full....er, swing?

Our mason bee city is busier than ever this year. The boys started to emerge in April and immediately set about patrolling the area and fighting with each other. Then the ladies arrived at the beginning of may and I have been amazed at how quickly they have been filling up and capping off the available tubes. When as cluster of tubes is completely filled, they move onto another set and seem to all go for the same ones, occasionally squabling over them.

I’ve been tracking thier working hours and on a fine day they seem to start as early as 8am (or about 14 degrees - not sure if its light or heat that is the main trigger now) and stop flying around 8pm. A 12-hour day sustained on only a few sips of nectar.

In addition to red mason bees (osmia bicornis) we also have a few blue mason bees (osmia caerulescens). None of the orange-vented ones but I think they come a little later in the season along with the leafcutters.

I love having my tea-breaks and watching them.

by rosi