Red mason bees Osmia bicornis (rufa) need mud! video -video

June 9, 2012

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

Why is mud so important to red masons bees?

Red mason female bees, after emerging from their cocoons, feed up ready for their arduous and hard working life ahead. After mating they go in search of a suitable cavity to lay their eggs and forage for their own food and that of their offspring. Each female will select a suitable cavity and fight to keep it. They need 3 basic requirements, food, nest site and mud, all nearby. Without any one of these they will not nest there at all. Simple as that. The video explains why mud is so important.

Nurturing Nature-mud supplier!

Nurturing Nature-mud supplier!


The tray contains water, slate and mud from a nearby dried pond, the site as seen in the video. It is watered on the slates which keeps the mud surface dry. The bees don’t like walking on wet muddy soil. In the middle of it is a depression. I have found that the bees fly into the the depression and start digging downwards or sidewards. This system works every time. The tray is placed about 5 feet from the nest box and easy for them to find. This keeps their time away from the nest site to a minimum for various reasons.  Get yours ready now!

“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.  Thank you” George Pilkington

See my new Registered Design award winning solitary bee box and bumblebee nest box both of which are proving highly successful, practical and educational, offering them a safer nesting environment in which you can observe the bees. Great for schools!

For more information about solitary bees and wasps visit BWARS

For more bumblebee information and to help save bumblebees join the Bumblebee Conservation Trust at Stirling University


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Patricia Cummings June 9, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Absolutely fascinating!



nurturingnature June 10, 2012 at 7:39 am

Thanks Pat, just something different but hopefully interesting! Cheers George


marian morrison June 10, 2012 at 8:44 pm

Great filming yet again George! Shame bees did’nt make use of your ‘mud’ bath but you know the saying ‘you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink’!!! Great to see you new box adopted by the bees. Look forward to production date of same. Marian


nurturingnature June 10, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Thanks Marian. Handy having a iPhone with me most times! I would like to find out what mud they like and is something I will experiment with,only because I love getting mucky hands! Bank holiday slowed manufacture up so shouldn’t be too long now


Marian April 12, 2014 at 8:38 pm

Must get my mud ready now I’ve seen your example. I’ll get hubby to excavate some from our water course. Have seen one mason so far but don’t think it’s one of my cocoons.

Need more sunshine!!!



nurturingnature April 13, 2014 at 7:22 am

Yeah, sunshine with a warmer breeze. Its so cold! Poor things! Cheers, George


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