Osmia leaiana using masticated plant material in observation nest box 2013-video

July 15, 2013

in A selection of my garden wildlife videos, Gardening For Wildlife, Leafcutter bees, Other solitary garden bees, Solitary Bee Observation Box

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.

The 'cigar' style nest linings of a leaf cutter bee

The ‘cigar’ style nest linings of a leaf cutter bee

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!

“All my articles and videos, available free, are funded by my  teaching and sales of award winning bumblebee nest boxessolitary bee boxes,  and wormeries. Please help by spreading the word and forwarding this link to your friends and colleagues. http://nurturing-nature.co.uk  Thank you” George Pilkington

Besides my own experiences and observations:

Baldock, D.W.(2008), “Bees of Surrey”, Surrey Wildlife Trust, Woking, Surrey


For more information about solitary bees  or better still join BWARS and help them with their work!


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