The Wasmann Journal of Biology (Vol 32 no 1 1974) has an excellent article on a variety of bee species including Osmia californica. It includes range maps of Osmia species. The known distribution of Osmia californica is in western North America and eastwards to Montana and Colorado (including British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho,Wyoming, Utah, Nevada) but not in Arizona or New Mexico.
Female color is metallic blue black, legs black to reddish black. The mandibles have 4 teeth.
Male is black to metallic blue black.
The male and female varies from entirely black to black with white tufts and areas of intermixed black and white.
It appears as early as May in the southern and warmer location and as late as August in higher altitudes.
Biology: The egg is located in the center of the pollen store, with the store usually filling the cell. The cell and plug partitions are constructed of small pieces of masticated leaf and mud. The amount of leaf varied from 1% to 50% of the partition. The partitions were tough, with the outer surface shallowly concave and smooth. The inner surface was rough and the spiral ring construction was easily seen.
Finding anything written about Osmia californica is not easy. Although I found an article written on californica by M. D. Levin, his scientific article was published in the Journal of Kansas Entomological Society, 1966. Unless you are affiliated with a university, only the abstract is available. I will write a summary of the article when I get the full article. But I did find a great web site with good and very detailed photos of Osmia californica. Link to photos of Osmia californica
This little mason bee Osmia californica, emerges soon after the early spring mason bee Osmia lignaria. We have supplies of Osmia californica available for our customers Click here for ordering your mason bees.
This little bee uses smaller nesting holes and has chewed leaf material as its nest plug. It will double the pollination season for your garden. Each bee nests and pollinates for about a month.Click here for more details about Osmia Californica
What really took my fancy were the beautiful raised flowerbeds at the entrance to the building. Very welcoming. The colours were stunning. On closer inspection, bumble bees liked this array of flowers too.
At the end of summer bumble bee colonies stop growing and the colony begins to produce queens and males. Queens mate with the males or drones and then hibernate over the winter until the following spring. It is important to have well fed drones so they can fly and mate with the queens. Flowers that provide nectar for bumble bees are a must. The flowers in these photos are great nectar producers as the presence of these bumble bees indicate.
Most of these bumble bees are males. Males usually have yellow heads.
|This bumble bee is Bombus vosnechenskii|
Grow flowers and they will come.
|Walking trails in the Center|
|Depending on the light, cliffs are either red, burnt orange
purple or varying co.lours in between.
|Honey bee colony on a cliff in the Center.|
We saw quite a bit of wild life including kangaroos and lots of birds. There were very few insects around because night time temperatures were around freezing a lot of the nights. I was pleasantly surprised though when Matt showed me a honey bee colony. Matt told me he had seen them at this location before. It was about 30 feet up on a cliff. Honey bee comb attached to an open cliff would be a rare sight in Canada, but in Desert country it is the perfect place. There is very little rain to speak of so a colony does not need protection from the rain. Since it had rained recently, trees and shrubs were showing off their bloom. This of course means food for honey bees.
|Gum tree flowers with a foraging honey bee.|
|Hakia flowers provide lots of nectar for birds called Honey-eaters|
|River beds and cliffs provide great habitat for all kinds
of wildlife including lizards, cliff dwelling birds and hawks.
This beautiful and wonderfully scented rose is a mega-attractant to bees.
|This rose bush stands about 4 feet tall.|
|This rose is so attractive to bumble bees that at one
point there were 6 bees inside this one flower.
|More bees in this rose.|