The Mason bee

The Mason Bee is a solitary bee based in the northern hemisphere and consists of over 350 species in the Northern Americas.  A solitary bee resides in its own nest and does not partake of communal care such as a honey bee. It will lay its eggs and collect pollen for its own nest and not commune with any other bee after fertilization.

The Mason bee is a small bee, smaller than a honey bee and of a metallic blue, brown or green color, depending on the prevailing light.  Looking like a large fly it can easily be mistaken in some lights so be careful around any 'large fly' and ensure it is not one of your beautiful Mason bees.

Osmia_cornifrons.5.1.08.w.jpg
Osmia_conjuncta,_F,_MD,_back_2015-11-20-

The mason Bee emerges in the Spring, depending on the weather and availability of pollen. The males will emerge first, followed by the females a day or two later. They will immediately mate and then disappear for a day or two before returning to the place they were born. They will almost always return to the place they were born to occupy the same holes as they were born into.

In the late spring and summer, they will collect pollen, lay their eggs and build walls to separate the chambers for the cacoon to grow. Throughout the autumn the egg will grow into larvae and then mutate into a cacoon and the bee in the winter. In Spring, the cycle starts again.