Great to see Red Mason bees (Osmia bicornis) using the solitary bee hotels we’ve put up in the garden.
The female bees emerged a few weeks ago, have mated, and are now busily laying their eggs in the hollow tubes. They forage for pollen from the flowers and pack it around each egg so when it hatches later in the summer it has plenty of food. She makes a partition wall of mud between each egg. After she’s laid eight to ten eggs in each tube, she seals the tube with mud she’s brought back to the hotel. Then she does the same in a second tube. This bee seems to have completed two tubes. She’ll keep going until she’s laid all of her eggs, which could be another three tubes.
Unfortunately we’ve still not heard of any reports of bees checking into the bee hotels we made at our workshop earlier in they year. They’ve been put around the neighbourhood in sunny spots but the bees have yet to find them. There may be too much dappled light in front of this second hotel.
As well as suitable habit, the Red mason bees need food. Pollen and nectar from Alaknet and Myosotis, both of which grows abundantly in our garden and our neighbours, seems to be feeding them.