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Mason bee - Osmia bicornis
Mason bee - Osmia bicornis

Mason bees
The genera Hoplitis, Hoplosmia and Osmia are called mason bees. Mason bees are loners (solitary bees) and belong to the family Megachilidae. Approximately 50 different species are found in Central Europe. These include Osmia bicornis and Osmia cornuta.

Mason bees build their nests in walls, cracks in stone, , (sandy) soil, hollow plants, dead wood from trees or in the galleries of wood-boring insects. The females build individual brood chambers inside the nest using glandular secretions and leaf pieces. ) They deposit pollen and nectar in each brood chamber for the future larvae before they start laying eggs. After oviposition the brood cell is closed with a seal. The hatched larvae feed on their food stock for some weeks before they pupate.

Some species overwinter as larvae, others as adult mason bees. The latter are already active in March. The natural enemies of mason bees include the larvae of cuckoo beeswho feed on the eggs of the mason bees and their food stores.

Description of images / photos
Photography with Cameras
Nikon D3x, Nikon D300, Canon 50D
Image editing with Photoshop
1. Mason bee - Osmia bicornis
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