Solitary bee inside nest cavity viewed through window
Instead of using cut pieces of leaves as a solitary leafcutter bee does, in its ‘cigar’ style nest linings and unlike a Red mason bee, Osmia bicornis, that uses mud, this solitary bee uses masticated plant material to line the cells and separate them. I used a piece of leaf to block the nest entrance and get a better view of this solitary bee. It took me quite a while, after many hours searching books and the internet, literally, to discover that this was not a leaf cutter bee and I now believe it to be probably Osmia leaiana. You can see the bee carrying masticated plant material in its jaws and its bright yellow/orange pollen brush hairs underneath its abdomen. The plant material is bright green to start off with that darkens and dries over time.
Today I saw another new species of solitary bee that I have never seen before. It had a very pointed rear end tip, again looking at the internet and a book, believe it was a cuckoo solitary bee. This bee flew around the two cavities in my nest box presently used by the Osmia bees and went into one when she left. The cuckoo bee was probably a sharped tailed bee, Coelioxys elongata or C. inermis. I simply do not know, although it certainly looked like one of those. A definite lack of a good solitary bee book for interested amateurs needed for the UK!
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Besides my own experiences and observations:
Baldock, D.W.(2008), “Bees of Surrey”, Surrey Wildlife Trust, Woking, Surrey