Mason bees are solitary, and don't form colonies or honey, like many other bee species. This skillful group of bees get its name from their use of mud in building nest compartments, rather like a stone mason constructing a house. Many mason bees nest inside reeds or hollow wood, but some British species make their nests in empty snail shells. After mating, the males soon die, but it's all go for the female. She collects pollen and nectar for the nest, then lays her eggs inside, males at the front and females at the back.
Scientific name: Osmia
The following habitats are found across the Mason bees distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
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Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
Mason bee is a common name for species of bees in the genus Osmia, of the family Megachilidae. They are named from their habit of making compartments of mud in their nests, which are made in hollow reeds or holes in wood made by wood-boring insects.
Species of the genus include the orchard mason bee, Osmia lignaria, the blueberry bee, O. ribifloris, and the hornfaced bee, O. cornifrons. The former two are native to the Americas and the latter to Japan, although O. lignaria and O. cornifrons have been moved from their native ranges for commercial purposes. The red mason bee, Osmia rufa, is found across the European continent. There are over 300 species across the Northern Hemisphere, and more than 130 species of mason bees in North America; most occur in the temperate regions, and are active from spring through late summer.
Osmia species are usually metallic green or blue, though many are blackish. Most have black ventral scopae which are difficult to notice unless laden with pollen. They have arolia between their claws, unlike Megachile or Anthidium species.
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