Red Mason bee Osmia bicornis, from egg, larva to cocoon Unlike bumblebees and honeybees, which live in a social nest together as a family and work as such for the benefit of their siblings, Red Mason bees (Osmia bicornis) are just one species in a much larger family of numerous solitary bee species. In the […]

First ever wool carder bees in garden and nest boxes! The wool carder bee, (Anthidium manicatum), arriving in my wildlife garden absolutely took me by surprise. I was even more surprised when I found several females sleeping in my nest boxes! Unusually for solitary bees, the females emerge before the males. First time I have […]

Bees and apple pollination, a bite sized view! Scientists have researched which species pollinates these apples and how much is it worth in the UK. You can download their paper  Apple Pollination: Demand Depends on Variety and Supply Depends on Pollinator Identity. Garratt et al 2016 or use the image!!! Now, where’s my new improved  orchard bee […]

PLEASE clean your Red Mason bee (Osmia bicornis) cocoons! Pollen mites attach themselves to bees using huge claws, then hitch a lift, drop off on flowers, feed up, and hitch a return lift courtesy of another bee. Once inside the safe environment of a red mason bee’s cell, they breed and can soon become many thousands inside one […]

Bamboo canes and nesting blocks for solitary bees In the right hands, bamboo canes have been successfully used for years to attract solitary bees to nest inside. The key words here are ‘in the right hands’. People who successfully use them know what bees need, how to adapt the canes for the bee’s requirements, how to safely open […]

Early mining solitary bee nest site National Wildflower Centre Liverpool video Probably one of the earliest solitary bees to emerge, Andrena clarkella. On this lovely March afternoon (14th) there were far more males than females. Most of the nest sides were south of the large tree trunk, in full sun and along the bare soiled […]

Many solitary and social wasps are pest controllers! Not all wasps sting us! In fact most do not. They never show any interest in humans whatsoever. Yet they have such a bad name because a few may sting. They prey upon smaller invertebrates. Stinging social wasps and many non-stinging solitary wasps are out and out hunters. Stingers chew […]

Do female solitary bees give  ‘hands off’ signals to harassing males? Female solitary bees are accosted by males especially if they believe her to be receptive. Fertilised females are very busy with the physical and time demands of collecting pollen or other materials to provision or build their nests. It would be beneficial for them if […]

Aerial wasp attack on flying honey bee I have watched many wasps killing prey, whether they were flies, caterpillars or honeybees. However they have all been caught when the prey item was stationary on a flower or other stationary platform. This was my first encounter with the wasp actually catching the honeybee whilst both were in […]

Queen bumblebees hibernate don’t they? By rights she should be hibernating. This was a Queen Bombus terrestris however, in some areas of the country, probably due to climate change, these plucky bumblebees have been active particularly in southern  areas and around the midlands.  This one to me was bedraggled, slow, soaked and very sorry looking. The moss […]