Hi, I put out a box of 7mm tubes next to my normal 8mm tubes for the Orchard Mason Bees or Osmia lignaria. The mason bees are doing very well filling their tubes. Attached is a picture of the 7mm tubes, they have 5-7 bees working in them. Most are horned Face (Osmia cornifrons) but a couple look like the regular Osmia lignaria but are much smaller as can be seen in the picture. My question is are they just small Osmia lignaria that prefer the smaller tubes or is there another species that I don’t know about? From what I can tell they look like the Osmia lignaria but are about the size of a Horned Faced. Thanks Norm
Hello Norm, Thank you for this fine photograph. I see two bees quite clearly, and the third is a bit too blurry to see what it is. I do not have any experience with the horned Face mason bee, but it has brownish coloration as the lower bee (see link below). The black one is Osmia lignaria. Both are early spring pollinators, and so both would be about in early spring. The size of female mason bees or Osmia lignaria varies quite a bit. I do not know if this is genetic variation or the end result of varying levels of nutrition. It is unlikely that there is a third species of a smaller size in early spring. However, many more smaller black mason bees are around that come out late spring through to late fall. at what time of year was this picture taken? Dr Margriet Dogterom
Subject: Ground beesDear MargrietWe have a bee problem in our garden in Aston Tirrold in the UKI found your details on the web. See this video. Any idea how we can manage this?Please do feel free to use the video! Justin K.
Hello Justin,Thank you for your inquiry- from the UK!Whow- I have never seen something like this. What a wonderful sight. If you are a bee person like myself, I would be delighted to have these in my garden because bees are a pretty precious commodity.I would make a special patch for the bees, by surrounding this area with a border of rocks and plants. They obviously like the soil and the drainage of your garden.I assume you don’t want to destroy them, but control them in some way. Nature is pretty good at controlling populations. I would expect that growth of this bee has occurred over the past few years and that a drop in the population is inevitable in the next few years.If you do decide to arrange a border around this population, and it begins to extend beyond the border, you could water down the area to slow them down a bit. But of course this would depend on the depth of their nests.I think it is a great clip. Hope this helps and keep us posted on what you decide to do.- Margriet
reply from JustinThank you!Will let you know how it goes
I’m wondering if you would be able to identify these ‘bees’ in my dad’s
garden for me. I don’t believe they are mason bees as they’re too
‘stripey’ but I’m not sure if they’re good or bad.
I hope the summer is treating you well!
Thanks, Shirley, Cultivate Garden & Gift Ltd. Parksville, BC, V9P 1T5
I believe these are leafcutter bees. Did you see them carry leaves into the
Thanks, Margriet! I didn’t see any leaf carriers with this nest. I did
spot a leaf cutter in my own garden yesterday, chomping away on a golden
privet and they’ve made a mess of my newly planted hydrangea! I was happy
to finally spot one as they’ve been elusive when I’m around. At least, I
thought they had been until I saw one and realized they were plentiful this
summer as I had noticed the whiter looking bees quite a bit and wondered
what they were.
I also found a couple of pieces of what I think was a nest lying on the
ground in another area. I didn’t know what it was at first so started
pulling it apart and realized it was the little round bits of leaves all
rolled together like a cigarette! I don’t know if it got knocked out of
somewhere because it was just lying there in the middle of nowhere on top of
the soil like it had blown in. (This nest may have been pulled out of the nest by birds.)
Another good teaching opportunity for my kids…although they didn’t seem
quite as excited as I was.
Mints are very attractive group of plants for bees because it produces lots of nectar.
The cone like flower structures of the pineapple mint consist of numerous florets that open, starting at the base of the cone. It takes about 3-4 weeks for all florets to open.
During the summer months there are a lot of bees out there, but look closely- some of these bees are tiny (6mm 1/4″ long).
Bonnie, my web master showed me how to crop and enlarge with Adobe.
I have been having a lot of trouble with focusing on these small bees. I am using Fujifilm EXR camera. Yesterday I was playing around with focusing on some text. I pressed the shutter down half-way, and the camera focused to 2″ away from the subject. Amazing. Then I released the shutter- and it focused back to the default. I did not realize that I should continue pressing the shutter to take the focused picture. I thought it would hold the focus until I partially depressed the shutter again. But not so. So now with renewed knowlege, I will see what I can find in the garden today.
Since I expected another sunny day today. I made sure my flowers were well watered, so they could make nectar for any visiting bee.