Tough little Osmia leaiana sits it out till Late Oct 2016
In 2012 I had my last Osmia leaiana nesting at my new address although I made the film the year after. Her offspring never made it and I opened the cocoons to see why, late July 2013. Most of them were dead but a few were almost there, but they too sadly never made it. I’m not too sure whether or not I opened the cocoons just a little too early? Anyone had experience of O. leaiana contact me please! I want this new generation to survive!
Since then a few have unsuccessfully attempted but never got past the first rudimentary building of the rear wall and sides. I was very pleased to have this lonesome female nest in my observation nest box this August
As the weeks went by, she had to spend more and more time with her head buried in the pollen. I saw her leaving one day with pollen around her mandibles and thought perhaps she was eating the pollen stored inside the cell. It seems logical as food was getting scarce and other than my Bowles’s Mauve flowers (a top wildlife plant!) there were not that many flowers in my garden.
There were dozens of nesting cavities she could have chose for her last nest, she flew around checking them out, including some in direct sunlight and next to her last nest site. In the end she chose a nest cavity that was abutting a brick wall and I wondered whether this was because there could well have been some warmth radiating from the bricks?
I saw her on 26th Oct inside the cell but never had the time to film her. That was the last I saw of her. According to BWARS Osmia leaiana flight period is between May and August. What a survivor! I filmed her egg which she laid on 3rd October and it was now a very small larva. I wonder whether it will survive?
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.
For more information about solitary bees visit BWARS
Interested in Citizen Science and pollinators? The Buzz Club