Friday, April 9, 2010

Solitary bees are discovering the nesting boxes...

I'm quite excited! Yesterday was a beautiful warm sunny day, and things are really hopping at the solitary bee boxes.
First, I was able to see another blue orchard mason female bee emerge from the cocoon tubes I had purchase. So things are still happening in that department.
But even more exciting is that over the past two days there have been quite a few female mason bees coming to the boxes and going in and out of the new nesting tubes!

Here are two blue orchard mason bee females using the tubes in my drilled wooden nesting block made by Dave at Dave's Bees:

Here is a blue orchard bee going into tubes in my 'can' nesting unit... it's easy to identify the blue orchard mason bees by their beautiful metallic blue sheen and black body:

I was amazed to see a second species of mason bee coming and going to my nesting sites. This other species is a soft warm brown color and has a fuzzy overall look, clearly a different solitary bee altogether than the blue orchard mason:
I asked on a bee forum what species this might be, and it was suggested by a knowledgeable person that it might be Osmia taurus. After looking at many online images I agree that this is likely Osmia taurus. This solitary bee species has no common English name...yet. I think I will invent one for my own use!. It is not one of our native solitary bees, but was imported to Maryland in the northeastern U.S. from China and Japan many years ago and is now established here all over the northeastern U.S. where I live. Unfortunate that there are introduced species around, but not much I can do to change that the welcome mat on my little bee inns will remain for all little bees who need an abode. In that same photo you can also see the black feet of a blue orchard bee (Osmia lignaria) peeking out from one of the other tubes.

Here is an Osmia taurus bee-girl peering out happily from her chosen tube...
Click on any picture and it will enlarge.

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