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 UK there are more than 250 different species of wild native bees! Solitary bees such as O. bicornis, work alone, searching for suitable cavities in which to create cells, provision them and lay their eggs. They may nest in aggregations where suitable nest sites allow. Filmed using Nurturing Nature observation nest box situated in my wildlife garden.
The development time from egg to cocoon is dependent upon many factors, with the temperature playing a major part.
See also Red mason bees and nest sites, life cycle, requirements, etc., article and video.
See the antics of males… Rusty the Red mason bee video.
For more information about solitary bees visit BWARS
National Bee Unit (Food & Environment Research Agency) solitary bees info sheet
For info and link to buy an excellent book Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland by Steven Falk
An extremely useful resource supports this book by a special web site feature within Steve Falk’s Flickr web site which furnishes extra photos and other useful resources to assist with identification.
Interested in Citizen Science and Pollinators, visit the Buzz Club